So, you and you family have decided to do foster care. Or perhaps it’s someone you know who has been approved to be carers. What now? How can you prepare to receive a child into your care? Or prepare to support your friends as they do so?
No matter what type of care is involved there are some simple things that can be done to prepare for the arrival of a child. The list below is written primarily for families about to do foster care. If you are preparing to support such a family, the list will be useful to see how and what practical help you may be able to offer.
Listen to the advice of your foster care organisation.
This may sound obvious, but the organisation you are working with will have case specific advice for you. They may provide funding for set up, training courses and detailed, experienced recommendations for how to get ready.
Get your house/spare room ready!
If you are fostering very young children you may need to check and secure your house. This may mean purchasing child proof cupboard locks, or plugs for electricity outlets. Children, regardless of age, will also need a welcoming space including furniture, some decoration etc. But leave space for the child to make the room their own.
Let other people know.
Tell those closest to you, if you haven’t already, what is about to happen. If you know when a child is going to move in, give your support network dates and information. If you are going to be on call, let them know this too. Ask for prayer and inform people what would be helpful – and not helpful – when the child arrives.
Clear your schedule.
Having a new person in the house will involve some upheaval, no matter how prepared you are! A child in care is likely to find the transition into your family from where they have been quite traumatic and will need extra support at this time. Free up your schedules to accommodate this, and allow yourself space to adjust also.
Begin praying for the child who will arrive. You may not know who they are, or when they will come into your care. But God does. His timing is perfect. His grace sufficient. His strength perfect when you are weak. So prepare with prayer and ask a committed supportive group of friends or family to join you.