10 things to do the first month of a new placement 

Now that you know the child(ren) a little bit better it is time to take care of business. That first month is full of meetings and asking questions.

  1. Talk to a caseworker.  If after the first week you don’t hear anything, start calling the licensing worker and agencies office. Have a list of questions ready.
  2. Find out about the court case. When you do finally talk to someone make sure you are all caught up on how the first court hearing went and when the next one will be.
  3. Find out information about the parents. Are the parents together? Is there any other family they are close to and will be seeing? How will you communicate with the parents?
  4. Meet the parents. This might not happen in every case but if you have the chance jump on it. Introduce yourself, ask them if there is anything you should know about their child, and let them know you are there to support them as well.
  5. Set up visits.  In some states you make have to drive the child yourself. In Illinois we have a program that drives the child and monitor visits. I have to spend a lot of time on the phone though making sure the days work with the kids school schedule.
  6. Set up therapy. I am a firm believer that any child 3 and over in foster care should be in therapy no matter what. Children need as many positive adults in their life that they can talk to.
  7. Go to the doctor. In Illinois you need to set up a doctors appointment within 28 days. I would set it up as soon as you get a placement. I would also make sure you have a list of questions ready especially if it is a younger child.
  8. Get a health history. You might be able to ask the casewoeker for a health history or the parents. It is very important to know as much information as you can about a child’s health.
  9. Ask the child if there is anything that you can do for them. Is there a sport they want to join? Friends or family they are hoping to see? A church they are part of? Try to see what you can do to make this time for the child as easy as possible.
  10. Take time for yourself. That first month is exhausting and especially if it is your first time parenting it can be very overwhelming. Find some time for yourself even if it’s just eating Oreos while watching tv (my favorite pastime)

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