foster care, foster placement, questions

I see some things asked in support groups over and over, and this is one of them: “What has been the most beneficial question you’ve asked about a possible placement?” For us personally, we asked only one thing with our first placement… what is their medical condition and when will you bring them over? We were so tragically happy to get our first placement, we didn’t ask much, we didn’t care actually, we just wanted to help the kids that needed a place to live and some love from us.

After that experience with our first placement of little toddler sisters, we learned to ask a lot more the next time around. Some of the questions may help you decide if you could take a child with certain traits or behaviors, but sometimes it is just good to know what you can expect… not that you can ever really expect anything in foster care, really, but you know, things to look out for. One of the biggest considerations is if you will adopt if it comes to that. Think about that and make sure if you have a spouse or partner that you are on the same page. In our first two cases, the kids were able to be adopted and for the first ones we weren’t ready. For the second ones we knew we couldn’t and had agreed taking them temporarily. We are on our third placement now and oh… the unknown of foster parenting.

We have had a child terrified of our yellow lab and grow to love her. Kids with a lice infestations, exposed at birth to drugs, little to no supervision, exposed to violence and scarred from physical abuse. Had we known these things before they were placed with us would it have mattered? Absolutely not. However there are some things that we knew we couldn’t handle as a family so with our second placement we did ask a lot more questions and, it wasn’t an emergency situation to move the kids so we had some more time to decide. Please remember, you have to make sure that it will work for you and your family, and I am not trying to scare you, obviously if you are considering being a foster parent, or are one already, you are stepping into the vast unknown. I am trying to give you some ideas to make a wise decision that may put a child into a home that is a good fit for them temporarily or if it becomes forever.

  1. Known or suspected history of sexual abuse or witness to sexual activity.
  2. Were they drug or alcohol exposed or addicted.
  3. If you have pets ask how they are with animals. Good? Have hurt them? Afraid?
  4. Ask if they’re new to care or if they’re moving foster homes. If they’re moving, ask why and how many different homes they’ve been in.
  5. Any history of violent behavior to other children, pets or themselves or starting fires.
  6. Is there a special health diagnosis, IEP or any issues in school?

Here are 3 more questions that are important but they could be ask after you agree to the child or children. They are questions that, if answers are available, could help you in parenting your foster child.

  1. Are both parents in the picture? Are there siblings or any other bio family, that the kids have relationships with. Can they visit with them?
  2. To workers knowledge, have they had bedbugs or lice. I would check for these regardless after placement.
  3. Abuse by men or women gender specific. Sometimes, depending on the man, just their natural talking voice can be intimidating to a child who has been abused, or a woman raising her voice can be detrimental to a little one abused by a woman.

You can have the most comprehensive, detailed list of pre-placement questions but the worker may not know all the answers but you can try! Many blessings!