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First Foster Care Placement
Being approved as a foster carer is a super exciting time! Family and friends will congratulate you and excitement will build for the arrival of your first foster child. For many first-time carers, this can also be a nerve-wracking time. As with any job, your first day or even year can be an anxious time as you gain experience and a deeper understanding of the role.
It is important to remember that you were approved at the Fostering Panel for a reason, we believe in you and know that you have the skills to be an amazing foster carer. During the assessment process, our social workers will have spent time getting to know you and your family. We will have a good handle on your key strengths and the types of fostering placement or children that you will be best suited matched to you and your family.
Whilst we know that all our approved carers have what it takes to be successful foster carers, you must remember that you are never alone. We have a whole team of staff who are dedicated to supporting you and your family in your role. You can read more about the support we offer on our support for foster carers webpage.
It is impossible to predict how long the wait will be before your first child or young person arrives. For some people, it could be as soon as a few weeks after approval, but for others, it may be longer.
Ahead of any child being placed with you, you will receive a referral. This means that although it is not yet confirmed that the child will be placed with you, you are being considered as an option.
Your supervising social worker will be able to share with you any information they have about the child and you have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Use this time to find out as much as you can.
Of course, with any referral, you have the right to say no if you don’t think that you are suited to that young person. We never want our foster carers to feel forced or unhappy with a child coming into their home. We encourage our carers to discuss all of their thoughts with their social workers and we will always work with you to make sure you are happy.
Whilst you wait for your first arrival, it is wise to use this time to get prepared.
There are a few things that you can prepare while you wait to ease your mind and ensure that when the first child arrives, they will have a smooth and stress-free transition:
Prepare the bedroom
You will have a spare bedroom ready for the arrival of your foster child, but how should you prepare it? You must ensure you have all the essential furniture you would expect in a bedroom such as a bed, wardrobe or chest of drawers. You can also include some items to make the room feel cosy and safe such as blankets, pillows, beanbags, lamps or rugs.
Try to keep the room neutrally decorated to ensure that it will be suitable for a child or young person of any age or sex. Once your foster child is living with you, you can personalise the room based on their likes and interests! It’s a great way to get to know them better and a fun bonding activity you can enjoy together. Find out more about preparing a child’s bedroom in our blog post here.
Prepare a “stand-by” kit
Fostering can move very quickly. You may receive a call and within several hours have that child with you at home. That’s why it’s a good idea to have some basics ready for the arrival of a child at short notice.
Items in your stand-by kit should include fresh bed sheets and linen, towels, toiletries including a spare toothbrush, sanitary products and anything else you can think of that may be needed at short notice. It’s also a good idea to keep your freezer stocked up just in case you have an extra mouth to feed!
Most of all, remember not to worry. You should enjoy the time you get to spend with your first arrival, whether that’s for just a day or for years. Foster children bring tons of joy to families and there’s plenty you can learn from them as you watch them grow.
We will be there to support you before and after their arrival with ongoing 24-hour support. Plus, you can meet with other carers and build a strong support group and a network of friends who can support you!
Interested in becoming a foster carer? All you need to do is get in contact with us and we can help you on your journey to becoming a foster parent. For more information, please give us a call on 03301 239 355 or fill out our contact form and a friendly member of our team will get back to you.
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