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Welcome Book for a Foster Child
Having your first foster child move in with you and your family is a big deal! Personally, it’s a great achievement to have passed the assessment process and to have become a registered carer, and for your family, it represents a huge milestone in your life. Alongside those feelings of excitement, however, there may be some nerves. This is completely normal and no amount of training and preparation will settle those first time nerves – it’s completely normal!
Don’t forget that whatever worries you may have, these will be tenfold for the child. Imagine what it would feel like to move into a new home with people who you have only just met. For anyone, this can be a daunting experience. For looked after children who may have experienced negative life experiences, it can be very upsetting and scary.
Your priority during the first few weeks is to do everything you can to make the child feel safe in your home and to begin to cultivate a sense of belonging. Doing all that you can to make the transition process as smooth as possible will be a really great start to your placement and help assist the child or young person to feel comfortable and protected.
A welcome book is an essential part of welcoming a child into your home and something that you will complete during the assessment process prior to approval. As a foster child, it can sometimes feel like the new family knows lots about you, but you know very little about them. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and injustice. A welcome book for a foster child is a great way to introduce them to you, your home, your family, and the surrounding area. Make sure to include photos alongside some description. If you have your own children, it’s a good idea to include them and get them involved too. Other information the book can present includes pet names, family interests and hobbies, the jobs they do, local places of interest to a child, and anything else that you think will be interesting.
A welcome box in the child’s room is also a good idea. If you already know some things about the child you can make it personalised with something you know they like! If not, keep it simple. Include Fusion’s children’s guide to fostering, toothbrush and basic toiletries, some paper and drawing materials, a cuddly toy, and games.
Be mindful that moving to a new home can be overwhelming and children might need reminding what people’s names are. It’s also a good idea to discuss what name you’d like the foster child to call you. Don’t invite too many people around while they’re settling in but be sure to introduce them to friends and family in due course.
You should make sure that you meet the child’s dietary requirements if they have any preferences or specialist requirements. If known, it can be very welcoming to prepare the child’s favourite meal for their first day. If you don’t know much about the child, try to make sure you have a good choice of options ready for them. Giving a child choice is important in assuring them that their opinion is valid and that they will be listened to.
Meal times are important and foster children may not be used to sticking to a routine. Make sure to discuss the rules surrounding meal times and make sure the child is comfortable with the arrangement.
On their first day, show the child around the house and give them the opportunity to ask questions. If you have any house rules, this is the time to explain them. As you walk around the house, be sure to point out important things and share information such as where items are located, which is the hot and cold tap, where toiletries are kept, how to use the shower, etc. Another important thing to consider is technology and internet access, especially for older children. You may want to write down the wi-fi code so that it is readily available. Make sure you explain the rules surrounding phones and devices that you have e.g. no phones at the table, etc.
Fusion Fostering wants you to look forward to welcoming your first foster child and being prepared is the best way to take the stress out of the process and make sure it goes smoothly! If this sounds like something you’d love to do, then we want to hear from you! Welcoming a new foster child can be daunting, but the reward is massive. If you’re interested in becoming a carer, please call us on 03301 239355 or fill out our contact form.