May 28, 2024

What You Should Expect from your First Foster Placement


You finally made it through the home study process for your and now, what should you expect? You put in hours of work on trainings, paperwork, and visits. You received your first call asking your willingness to say yes to the unknown…The doorbell rings and you welcome a stranger into your home…what happens now? Here are a few things to be thinking about after you welcome a child into your home.


  • Clothing
    • Many times children come into care with nothing but the clothing on their back. It is important to be as prepared as possible. Be sure to know your local resource closets for time like these. It is always a good idea to have your worker request clothing sizes and favorite snacks before the child arrives, so you can make a quick run to the resource closet or store to have those items quickly on hand. This helps aid the transition process.


  • Medicals
    • Be sure to have a medical provider that takes Medicaid pre-picked that you will be taking your new foster placement to. Children in foster care need to have a medical appointment scheduled quickly after coming into care. They will also need dental appointments and mental health appointments scheduled.
    • Often times you will not have a physical Medicaid card before their first appointment. You will be able to get their Medicaid number from the DSS case manager. When filling out paperwork be sure to put your local child protection agency as the responsible party for billing.
    • Children in foster care will have to have regular doctor and dentist appointments every 6 months. Do not forget to get your after visit summary following the appointment.


  • Court
    • Foster parents have the right to be notified and appear at court. Within 72 hours of a child coming into care, there will be a probable cause hearing. Foster Parents are unlikely to get notice of this hearing due to how quickly it is scheduled. This hearing will determine if there was enough probable cause to bring a child into foster care.
    • The next upcoming hearing is called a Merits hearing. At this hearing, the results of the investigation will be disclosed along with the biological parents’ treatment plan.
    • Every 6 months there will be a permanency plan hearing. The purpose of this hearing is for the court system to get an update of the parents’ progress.
    • It is highly recommended foster parents attend court so that they can learn more details about the case plan and progress. Case managers cannot share the amount of details a foster parent would receive in court.


  • Visitations/building connections with biological parents
    • Children in foster care will visit their parents at a minimum of twice a month for one hour each. These visits are very beneficial to keep the children’s bond to their biological parents intact.
    • Visitations are a great way to connect with the biological parents of the child in your home. You can start by sending a journal with a letter in it to the parents. You can let them know how their child is doing and ask them for any helpful information about food, schedules, anything they want to share.
    • When foster parents and biological parents build a relationship, it helps the child adjust more efficiently.

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