These 6 questions to ask when you get a call about a foster placement comes from questions I see in our support groups over and over. “What has been the most beneficial question you’ve asked about a possible placement?”
Our First 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; didn’t care. Actually, we just wanted to help the kids that needed a place to live and some love from us.
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Our Second Placement
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’s good to know what you can expect… not that you can ever really expect anything in foster care, but you know, things to look out for.
Would you Adopt?
One of the most significant considerations is: Will you adopt if it comes to that? Think about that and make sure if you have a spouse or partner that is 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 to take them temporarily. In our training to be foster parents, reunification with bio family is stated as the goal. Although, that may not happen. Talk to your caseworker about it, if that is a concern.
Our Third Placement
We are on our third placement now, and oh… the unknown of foster parenting. I don’t feel right discussing our current placements. Therefore, information on her will have to wait. I can say, that we had the opportunity to ask lots of questions and receive much information.
Know Your Boundaries as a Family
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. Would it have mattered if we knew these things before their placement? Absolutely not. 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. However, it wasn’t an emergency situation to move the kids, so we had some more time to decide. In the end, you have to make sure that it will work for you and your family.
Don’t Be Scared
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.
6 questions to ask when you get a call about a foster placement
- Known or suspected history of sexual abuse or witness to sexual activity.
- Were they drug or alcohol-exposed or addicted.
- If you have pets, ask how they are with animals. Good? Have hurt them? Afraid?
- 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.
- Any history of violent behavior to other children, pets, or themselves or starting fires.
- Is there a specific health diagnosis, IEP, or any issues in school?
3 more follow up questions
Here are 3 more questions that are important. You could ask these after you agree to the child or children. They are questions that, if answers are available, could help you in parenting your foster child.
- 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?
- To workers knowledge, have they had bedbugs or lice. I would check for these regardless after placement. In turn, you are not faced with an infestation.
- Abuse by men or women gender-specific. A man with a deeper voice may scare a child who has been abused. A woman raising her voice can be detrimental to a little one abused by a woman. It is helpful to know and be extra gentle.
You can have the most comprehensive, detailed list of pre-placement questions, but the worker may not know all the answers, still try! In conclusion, keep this list of 6 questions to ask when you get a call about a foster placement close by. Copy and paste into your phone notebook or print out a copy. The result will be a more informed decision. Many blessings!