Making Foster Care Easier for Kids

Foster kids experience a lot of change, which is difficult for kids under any circumstances. Here's how to make those changes easier.


Bio Parent Visitation


There are a variety of visit options, so feel free to use the people, video, or call to indicate a visit. If you have multiple visits in a week, consider moving the magnet throughout the week, or writing directly on the board using a dry erase marker. If you are waiting for the visit to be confirmed and there is a chance that it may not happen, consider the child's age, developmental, and emotional needs. If overnights are more consistent, consider using the “where am I sleeping” sticker to acknowledge these visits.

Video from Laura: Getting a Child Ready for a Visit >.

Where am I sleeping?
Often relatives will have overnight visitation and as you get closer to reunification, overnights become more common. Instead of using the magnet to note this, you can use this sticker to talk through where the child will be sleeping each night. Additionally, if the child is going to a respite provider, they may benefit from this visual.

Storytelling

When new magnets are used, I always recommend telling a social story/walking through what the appointment will be like, and giving context to the situation. Some kids have trauma associated with medical appointments, seeing social workers, being asked hard questions. For some, they will be put at ease and get through the appointment more peacefully if they know what to expect. For example, if the child needs to see the eye doctor, you can talk about why that’s important, show a video like this.

Uncertainty

Changes and surprises are the only things we can actually depend on as a foster parent! Things happen. Appointments get canceled, visits get canceled, there are no-shows, and there are also last-minute appointments that come up! I recommend revisiting the calendar on a daily basis to update and inform the child as to what to expect for the day. Foreshadowing is a great way to reduce anxiety. And depending on the age, and developmental and emotional needs of the child, you may choose to leave certain things off of the calendar if they are very triggering. Collaborate with their therapist to make the best decisions for the kids in your care. 

Preparing for Happiness

Use this magnet for anything activity the child is excited about! We included this because having fun and happy moments can cause anxiety, even if the child is really excited about it.

Joy is vulnerable, and so many foster parents witness changes in a child’s behavior even before/during/after activities that the child is excited about.

It’s important we foreshadow for these moments too to help the child mentally prepare, and it serves as an opportunity to talk about how they may be feeling.

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