Entering foster care can be a scary and uncertain time for children. Thankfully, Necco has loving and caring foster parents who are ready with open arms to soothe and reassure the kids placed in their foster homes. But what if there were additional things our foster parents could do to help with this initial process?
After asking a number of Necco Foster Parents and Case Managers, we compiled a list of 8 simple things foster parents can do to ensure their child feels safe at home from the very first day!
1. Welcome Note: A handwritten note is a simple action that can make all the difference in your first moments together! It is personal, meaningful, and a great way to express “We are glad you are here.”
2. Cozy Blanket: Not much feels better than wrapping up in a soft, warm blanket when you are feeling low. The first night in a new home is full of uncertainties and insecurities for a child. A cozy blanket is just the thing to reinforce a feeling of safety and security.
3. Designated Space: Everyone who lives in your home has their own space. Whether it be a hook in the closet or a spot on the shoe rack, it belongs to them. Making a permanent spot for your child’s items sends the message “You belong here.”
4. Hygiene Kit: Oftentimes, kids are removed from their biological homes with little to no notice. There is no time to pack sentimental items or necessities. Prepare a simple kit that includes things like a toothbrush, toothpaste, lotion and hairbrush. It will help your child feel settled, prepared and organized.
5. Art/Writing Supplies: Any therapist will tell you that writing, drawing, and coloring are successful therapy techniques. These methods help children express their emotions if they are unable to find the words to do so. When a child is initially placed with you, he or she may feel more comfortable with this method than actually verbalizing feelings.
6. Toys/Books: Depending on the age of child you are fostering, you will want to have some toys and/or books your child can call his own. Who doesn’t love the feeling of getting a new toy or the smell of a fresh, new book?
7. Nightlight: The first night in any new place can be a little unsettling. Imagine being a child placed in foster care for the first time, sleeping in a new bed, in a new room, with new parents. Whether the child is 4 or 14, a simple, dimly-lit nightlight can be just the right touch to add a little comfort to a worried mind.
8. Backpack: Many of us carry bags or purses. And many of us probably have everything from Band-aids to Barbies in them. Kids in foster care are no different. Whether it be their toys, snacks, or music players, they don’t belong in a plastic grocery bag. And backpacks can be worn by any age child!
Children need to feel at home in their new home. Following these simple suggestions can help you and your child have a happy and memorable first day together! #WeBuildFamilies