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February 2021Vol. 22, No. 2Questions to Ask When Accepting a Foster Placement

When considering whether to become foster parents or accept a foster placement, it is important to research whether the child or youth will be a good fit and to understand the differences between a child who has just come into the foster care system and one who has experienced multiple placements.

The AdoptUSKids article "Questions to Ask When Accepting a Foster Placement" lists the following questions foster parents should ask when deciding whether to accept a child who has come into care for the first time:

  • What is the age and sex of the child (or children)? This information can help to determine sleeping arrangements and whether the child will fit in with the rest of the children in the household.
  • Why are they coming into care? Knowing this information can help foster parents understand the child's behaviors and accommodate any previous trauma the child may have suffered.
  • Are there siblings who are also entering care? This information can help foster parents with consider potential visitation schedules with the child's siblings.
  • Will they be changing school districts if they are placed with me? This information will help foster parents manage their time if they need to enroll the child in a new school.
  • What is the caseworker's cell phone number—and what is their supervisor's? Parents should be able to contact the child's caseworker if they need to.

The following are questions foster parents should ask when considering whether to accept a child who has experienced multiple placements:

  • What is their understanding of the reason they are in foster care? Some children are unaware of why they had to leave their homes and families.
  • Do they have allergies—including to animals? Along with asking about allergies, it is important to ask a child if he or she is comfortable with animals in the home.
  • What are their favorite foods—likes and dislikes? Are they vegetarian? Knowing a child's food preferences can help ease their transition into the family.
  • What are their upcoming and routine appointments? What is their visitation schedule with birth family members—and where do they live?
  • Are they a runaway risk? The answer to this question can help foster parents consider what precautions to take.
  • When is their birthday? How have they celebrated it—and other holidays—in the past? This information can help give the child a sense of normalcy within the family.
  • What are the child's medical needs? This information is important to determine whether the foster family can handle the child's needs.

The article also includes questions that should never be asked, such as how long the child will be staying.