Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

What First-Time Foster Parents Should Prepare For

After spending hours in training classes and having a number of visits with a licensing worker, most prospective parents will feel ready to become a full-time foster parent. Unfortunately, a lot of foster parents find themselves in a roller coaster without being adeptly prepared for all the changes. A lot of them are clueless about what to do or expect in this journey. To be on the safe side, you should have a guide on what to be aware of, as well as how to prepare to take in the kids. Here are a few more tips to prepare you for the uphill task ahead.

Expecting the Child

As a first-time foster parent, you will be full of anxiety waiting for the phone call from your agency. When the call finally comes through, remain calm and be ready for either good or bad news. There is always a 50/50 chance of something changing at the last minute and the child might not show up at your door right when you expect. You should be ready for any eventualities and be ready to move on with life or wait for longer than expected. The waiting period is usually determined by the type and age of the child you will be waiting for. Children between the ages of 12-21 years are more readily available than those in other age groups. You might receive a call within a few hours after you complete your license for a child falling under this category. If you are waiting for a child within the age group of 0-5 years, you could wait for a while and patience will be important in such a case.

Preparing the Bedroom and Clothes

After getting past the licensing process, you should prepare to have some bedroom furniture, clothes, and a place for everything a new child may need. You cannot correctly guess the size of the child you will be expecting due to the varying body sizes as well as gender. However, you can have some loose pajamas or sweat pants that can fit different body types and sizes. You should also have somebody ready to send to the store to get clothes for the child once they arrive as some come with a few items, while others do not carry anything. Your spouse or a close relative or friend can play this part.

Unexpected Pregnancies

If you want to adopt a young child, you can look for an adoption agency that pairs new families with children born out of unexpected pregnancies. These agencies have well-trained family physicians who counsel and support such women. The family physicians enlighten women with unwanted pregnancies about the various options available to them like raising the child, giving it up for adoption, or going for an induced abortion. A state-run or private licensed adoption agency can assist in pairing your family with such a child. The adoption has to be done in accordance with the set laws and regulations applicable in your state.

Setting Up Daycare, School and Medical Care

If you are a working parent, consider organizing for daycare well in advance. You can call the daycare centers in your area to find out if they are duly licensed and whether they accept foster children. If your foster child attends school, you will have to get contact of all the institutions close to your home and arrange a meeting with them with a view of getting him/her transferred there. You can check with your agency whether they have a list of medical professionals and institutions that can attend to your foster child in order to get a nice place well in advance.

Although foster parents are well trained and licensed, there is still need for further support and careful preparation. You may require more information and practical tips on how to handle your first ever foster child. Following all the above tips will ensure a successful foster parent relationship between you and the child.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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