I have completed foster care certification, what’s next?
You’ve done all of the paperwork and training, you have your home ready for a placement, now what?
The agency that certified your family will put you on a list of available families to call whenever there is a need for a home. This will also include information such as number of open beds and the ages of the children you are able to care for.
While you are waiting for that first call, you could get clothes and toys together for different age ranges. We’ve put together a list of items to have on hand that you can view HERE.
When you do get a call, your family will then be able to accept or decline the placement. Why would you decline a placement? One example is that you might get a call for a sibling group when you were thinking you’d start slow with one child or maybe the child in need has some kind of special need that you don’t think you are equipped to handle. Whatever the case, it is up to you to decide if you want to accept a placement. We do encourage you to have an open mind and consider these options when they arise; you might be more capable than you realize. Some calls may come in the middle of the night for a child who needs a placement immediately while other calls may occur a few days before a placement is needed.
If you have decided to accept the placement, the child’s worker will bring the child and their belongings to your home. If this is the child’s first placement, you will receive a store voucher to buy some of the necessary items you need for the kid(s) placed in your care. The social worker will also supply a placement agreement and medical card. They will let you know “what’s next” in terms of the child’s case, any appointments they may have and any services that they need to receive.
Most important in the first few days is helping the child feel comfortable in their new environment. Being welcoming, showing them the ins and outs of your home and helping them learn the basic routine can go far to help ease their fear and anxiety.
Some placements could be as short as a few days or weeks while others can last for many months or even over a year. You are entitled to receive information about the child’s case and to attend team meetings. You are providing an important service for these children and should be treated as a valued member of the child’s team.