You may not have much time between finding out you will be a foster carer and the placement, but being prepared is always important. If you are fostering for the first time, or have not had a foster placement for a while, take a look at our top 10 ways to prepare your home for fostering:
- Collect clothing and toiletries
Having a spare toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner etc and some spare clothes in various sizes and for both genders is a great idea to ensure you are stocked up with the things that your foster child may need when they arrive.
- Lock away medications and chemicals
Foster homes are required to lock away any medication and chemicals (such as cleaning supplies). It is easy to find a solution for this in any hardware shop and it is also recommended to use a number padlock as then you don’t need to worry about keys.
- Pack things away
It can be a good idea to pack away any breakable items, or fragile items of sentimental value. Many children and young people in foster care come from difficult backgrounds and may be destructive, so keeping breakable items somewhere safe can help to keep them safe too.
- Ensure you have some common medications
Having some simple and common medications including a thermometer, lice treatments, infant/child fever reducing medicine and painkillers can be a good ideas as it can be common for people to get unwell at the start of a new placement, like at the beginning of the school term!
- Prepare their room
It is important for a child or young person to have their own room which feels comfortable and safe. Prepare the room for your foster child before they arrive, but keep it simple and leave some things to be picked by them to help them make their room feel like theirs. It is important to be understanding and remember that the child may not feel at home right away and some things may become damaged or broken.
- Get food supplies in
Having a child/children or young person/s placed with you will mean that you will have a few more mouths to feed! Getting stocked up on a variety of supplies will ensure you are nice and prepared, but also invite them to suggest things they like or would prefer eating. You schedule will also become busier with the placement of a foster child, so doing fewer and larger food shops will save you precious time.
- Gather some toys
It can be a good idea to have a few toys on hand before your foster child arrives, but it is also important to wait until the child has arrived as each child’s interest will differ depending on what they enjoy and how old they are.
- Gather some games/films
Having a few games and films can also be a good idea ahead of the child’s placement, but again be careful not to buy too many before they arrive as they will be interested in different types of games and films.
- Preparing for a baby
If you are considering fostering infants, then ensure you have all of the essentials to hand. It can be worth mentioning to family and friends who may have spare items to lend you. Again it is important not to get carried away and buy lots of new baby gadgets as the things you will need will greatly vary depending on the age of the baby placed with you, so just ensure you have the basics ready.
- Organise your living space
Tidy and organise the rooms within your home to accommodate for the child/person that will be joining you to encourage them to feel comfortable spending time in the living areas of your house. It is important to make sure your home is organised but still feels comfortable and homely.