Foster Parent FAQ
Below you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding foster care. If you still have questions or need further information, please contact Caring for Kids, Inc. using the information found on our Contact Us page. We are always happy to take your calls or e-mails.
- Anticipated length of stay
- Health and medical history of the child
- Physical and/or behavioral problems
- The child’s relationship with his/her parents
- School and educational background
- A visitation plan
- Welcome the child(ren) with some kind of activity, when appropriate.
- Offer them something to eat. Let the child(ren) know if they can help themselves to food or if they need to ask first.
- Provide them with the name you want to be called. Don’t make “Mom” and “Dad” mandatory, consider other alternatives.
- Allow the child(ren) to unpack in their own time. Offer to help or simply let them know where to put their things, whenever they are ready to unpack.
- Provide the child(ren) with a place to keep personal possessions.
- Let them know it is all right to put a picture of their family or previous foster families in their bedroom. Stress that you understand how important these people are to them.
- Be sensitive to their feelings. Ask permission before hugging or touching.
- Avoid doing anything that conveys, “You’re not okay the way you are.” For example, do not try to change the child(ren)’s hair or clothing.
- Help the child(ren) settle into a regular routine as quickly as possible, but do not be disappointed if they do not respond right away.
- Give the child(ren) opportunities to talk to you, but do not pry into their past or criticize their parents.
- Respect their right to privacy. Never talk about a child when they are present, unless it is appropriate to include them in the conversation, for example, “Ms. Wilson, Andrew is doing so well at his new school!” This applies to conversations with agency workers, friends, or other children.
- Help them develop a sense of pride and accomplishment by giving them tasks within their abilities. Let the child(ren) know regularly how much you appreciate their help around the house.
- Praise them for little things.
- Use positive techniques, versus punishments, to help them learn to manage their behavior.
- Never threaten a child who misbehaves with removal from your home.
- Ask the child(ren) what they think foster care is and what they expect from you as a foster parent. Don’t make children answer if they choose not to respond. Give them time.
- Praise and recognize decisions and activities related to positive parenting.
- Make scrapbooks or photo albums containing mementos for the child.
- Construct a family tree or a Life Book with the child.
- Send parents a birthday or holiday card.
- Discuss the child’s school activities/functions/conferences, social activities, relationships, behavior, health, social development, holiday plans, etc.
We highly recommend that foster parents be dually certified for foster care and adoption. County agencies are beginning to become very selective with first time placements of younger children. For families who are ultimately interested in adopting a younger child from the public system, being open to a foster or foster-to-adopt placement may be your quickest route to receiving a placement.