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First Impression for Foster Child
When a child enters foster care, there are so many different circumstances that a child has experienced by the time they reach the foster home. Therefore, it is important to help them feel welcome, comfortable, and safe. One of the scariest moments for them is that initial introduction, and one way I have learned to ease the transition and fear is by having a welcome basket just for them. Putting together a Welcome Basket for a child entering foster care is a wonderful way to give a child a positive first impression foster care system and your home.
There are several steps to take to make the basket special. First, find out the child's age. Once you know this, you can create the welcome basket by listing items to place in the basket. Items in the welcome basket should be relevant to the foster child's age and needs. For example, infants will likely require different items than teenagers. Incorporating personal details from the child into the welcome basket can also be a great idea if you can get anything of theirs before they arrive.
For example, a child entering foster care may spend several hours waiting in a Child Welfare office while social workers search for a suitable foster home. During this time, the foster child will usually receive a backpack with limited items, such as a few personal hygiene items and outfits.
Arriving at your home to a welcome basket for a foster child can be a great way to show your support. A basic welcome basket will contain the basics for the child's first few days at home. The items can include toiletries, a favorite book, and some snacks. You can even include gift cards from your local discount store if you're feeling generous. You can also freeze cookie dough to include in the baskets and bake them together their first night there.
You can keep a range of items on hand by pre-purchasing from places such as Amazon, Dollar Tree, and Target. Remember that a welcome basket is a way to start a positive relationship with a child in foster care, so be sure to keep this in mind. If you're unsure of what to include in a welcome basket, look for an age-appropriate gift list from the social worker, and I have several ideas listed below. Let's take a look:
10 and Up
The baskets for this age range would be lovely to include personal hygiene products such as Soap, face wash, deodorant, feminine products, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, and lotion. Emotional support items such as notebooks and pencils for them to write and draw. Some comfort items include a blanket, slippers or socks, and headphones. Snacks are a good idea because sometimes we don't know when the last time they had a meal and they may feel self-conscience about eating, so snacks are a nice touch to the baskets. Stay away from nuts or dairy until you know about any allergies. Hard candy, gum, granola bars, and chips are usually a safe snack start, and just one or two is a good start.
The basket for this age range should also get hygiene products such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, lotion, comb, and brush. Emotional support items include a stuffed animal, blanket, coloring book, and colored pencils. Snack ideas would be gummies, chips, and Capri-sun.
The basket for this age range should be cute and fun with a toothbrush and toothpaste, a stuffed animal and blanket, a book, and perhaps a doll or hot wheel car will be helpful in this age group because it will give them something to hold and give them a slight sense of control. Snacks for this age group need to be age-appropriate and straightforward, such as an apple sauce squeeze, gummies, cheese-its, and a juice box.
The baskets can be fun and straightforward for each age group, but help transition a child into your home. If you find this helpful, see how to create the baskets.