Welcoming a child or young person into your home is a big life event for them, but also for everyone in your household. Making them feel comfortable and welcome is very important as it will help a child to feel valued from the very start.
We offer emergency placements, which is where children come to stay in short notice due to an emergency situation back home. These placements are usually short-term, meaning a weekend or one or 2 nights, but in some circumstances, they can end up staying for a while. These types of placements are usually arranged on the day or night of the child or siblings coming to stay so there is little time to prepare for their stay.
Planned placements are usually arranged a week before the child is bought into the home so the child's schedule and any important information can be shared in advance with the foster carer.
How to prepare for a placement
It is a good idea to get to know the child coming to stay with you as best as you can before they arrive. This allows you to prepare their bedroom and your home for their stay.
Aside from learning about the basics like background and their current situation you might want to find out other information which can help you prepare your home. Things that might be helpful to know are foods they like, their favourite TV shows, their favourite genre of films, what interest they have, etc and their character.
You can then get your home ready for their stay by making sure you have food in the house that they like and cook their favourite dinner on their first night and download some films to watch together if they feel comfortable sitting with you.
Some foster carers like to create welcome baskets for the child or teenager staying with them. This can include toiletries including a shower sponge, deodorant, a new toothbrush and sanitary products. Welcome baskets might also contain items like soft toys and books.
How to make them feel a part of the family
When the child has arrived we would recommend showing them around the house by showing them where the essential household items are kept, let them settle into their new bedroom and tell them the day-to-day schedule like what the different mealtimes are and when they should get up for school or college.
All our children and young people are different and some of the teenagers and children might feel reluctant to join in with certain activities right away. The amount of time a placement will take to adjust to their new surroundings is unique to the child or young person. There are many factors that play a role in this and some might take longer to feel at home with you than others and that is okay.
Health and safety advice
When you have children of different ages in and out of your house it is a requirement to have certain safety measures in your home.
This includes, but is not limited to, measures such as:
-Fire safety plan
-Smoke alarms fitted on all floors and regularly checked
-Seatbelts must be worn in a vehicle at all times
-Toxic or hazardous substances stored away
-Baby safety locks where required
All about us
We provide documents before each placement is made. We have an 'All about us' document which we send to the foster carers to fill out. This has questions on it we think children and young people are curious to know, such as 'will you buy me clothes?', 'can I have sleepovers with friends?', 'do I get pocket money?', 'your favourite TV shows', and many other questions, along with blank boxes for the carers to fill out themselves with additional information they think suitable to let the children know. These are then sent to the children that will be going to stay with the family so they can get to know each other before they meet.
Meet the family
We also send the fostering family a document to share further information with visuals. This includes images of themselves, the room the children will be staying in, any pets they have, and interests and activities the family enjoys. This is sent to the child or children that will be staying with this family so they have an idea of the environment they will staying in and the people they will be living with.