Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Placement

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An often little-known fact about the foster care world is that you have the ability to say no to a placement. Many families feel pressure to accept the first call they get, but it’s important to learn as much information as possible about the child and spend a short time in prayer before deciding. Our team of family care managers put together a list of questions for you to ask before you give an answer.

Ask these 10 questions first when you get a call for placement:

Basic Information
If this information isn’t given to you right away start off with a few easy questions. What is his name, age and does he have any siblings. This will make the rest of the conversation more natural. This also gives you a framework for how he will fit into your existing family birth order (if applicable).

Project 1.27 What Questions to Ask When Accepting a Placement

Why is this an open case?
Since you aren’t yet an official member of the case you likely won’t be given detailed information about what caused the removal, but you can get a general idea. Ask for basic information about the reason she is in care - physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, or neglect.

Why is the child moving?
You may be his first placement, but he also may be moving from another kin or foster home. Ask the casework the reason for the move. This may not play into your decision but is good information to have.

Has the child been evaluated?
If this is her first placement it is unlikely she has been evaluated yet. This is something that should happen within the first week of a new case. If she has been evaluated, ask for information about the diagnosis.

Is there a history of violence?
Specifically ask if he has a history of being violent towards adults, kids or animals. Ask for as many details as you can about the situation(s) in which the violence occurred to see if there are any obvious triggers that may be present in your home.

Is the child healthy?
Trauma can have a major impact on a child’s health and can cause physical delays and even chronic disease. Decide if you are prepared to care for a kid who has medical needs and try to get an accurate scope of the requirements before deciding.

Will there be a religious conflict?
Occasionally you will encounter children whose birth parents disagree with your beliefs. This can lead to special requests such as not bringing her to church with the family. It may not sound like a big deal, but you will have to organize childcare for her while your family attends church which may be challenging.

Is the child in therapy?
Most kids you have in your home will be in therapy to help them process what has happened. Ask the caseworker if therapy has been set up, where the therapist is located and how frequently he has appointments.

What are the child’s unique behaviors?
Every child is unique and some behaviors caused by trauma are easier to deal with than others. You can never know how she will act in a new environment but doing your best to understand their history will help guide your decision to bring her into your home or not.

Will there be parent visits?
Parent visits are common for kids in foster care, especially new cases. Remember the initial goal of almost every case is for families to be reunited and parent visits are a part of that process. Like therapy appointments, parent visits, which occur one or two times each week,  need to be incorporated into your family schedule.

It can be hard to say no to a placement, but a good initial fit is healthier for a child and prevents unnecessary moves. Asking questions is key to helping protect a child and your family, so ask away!

If you have additional questions about the process of becoming a foster parent, attend a Project 1.27 info night!

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