Happy foster family - Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Make Foster Children Feel at Home: How to Create a Welcoming Family Environment

When a child is placed with a foster family, they often arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back. Foster families usually receive little notice before the child is placed with them, and must quickly transform their home into a welcoming, comfortable, and safe space for a child they have just met. The first few days can be overwhelming for both the foster child and the family.

Fortunately, there are many great organizations and resource centers available to help foster families provide for the needs of the children in their care. These resources include clothing, shoes, beds, furniture, car seats, basic toiletries, books, toys, and other items to help the child feel at home and safe. Additionally, foster care and child welfare organizations offer therapeutic tools, coaching, and support for children who have experienced trauma, as well as guidance for foster families.


Welcoming and getting to know your foster child

While biological parents and children have the advantage of knowing each other from day one, foster families and foster children face the often challenging task of building trust and getting to know one another. Showing respect, patience, and affection, taking the time to connect, asking questions, and actively listening to the new family member can break down barriers and help establish a strong bond based on trust between the foster family and the foster child.

Here are 25 simple questions foster parents can ask their new family member to start a conversation, to break the ice, and to get to know them better: 

  1. When is your birthday?
  2. Where were you born?
  3. What is your favorite food?
  4. What is your favorite color?
  5. What are some things you like to do for fun?
  6. Do you have any hobbies?
  7. Are there any sports you like or activities you are interested in?
  8. What is your favorite movie or TV show?
  9. What kind of music do you like?
  10. What is your favorite song?
  11. What is your favorite game to play?
  12. What is your favorite animal?
  13. What is your favorite thing to wear?
  14. What do you like most about school?
  15. What things do you like to learn about?
  16. Is there something you are working on that you are excited about?
  17. Do you have any special talents or skills?
  18. What are things you are proud of?
  19. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  20. Who is your best friend?
  21. Who are the people in your life that are important to you?
  22. What are the things that make you happy?
  23. Is there anything that scares you or makes you feel uncomfortable?
  24. What does your ideal home look like?
  25. Is there anything else you would like me to know about you?

Many of these questions are part of the prompts in the My Friends and I book.
My Friends and I is an interactive “friendship” book, that gets passed on to family members, friends, classmates, teachers, mentors, coaches, nannies, and others, who all answer questions about themselves and add a photograph to their designated pages.


Child answering the questions in the My Friends and I book.

The My Friends and I book, filled out and signed by foster parents, foster siblings, and other foster family members, is a beautiful welcome gift for a foster child, and a great way for the child to learn more about their new family, and vice versa.

Tips for the foster family 

💡 Include your foster child in the “My family members:” section to show your new family member how excited you are about them joining your family.

💡 Set aside the first two pages of the book for your foster child. Once they’ve completed their pages and answered all the questions, review their responses together as a family and ask additional questions to deepen the conversation.

💡 Take a family photo with your new family member and add it to their pages in the book.

Whether you're currently fostering a child, recently had a child placed in your care, or are in the process of preparing to become a foster family, the My Friends and I book makes for a great first family album for your new family.

The My Friends and I book is available for purchase here.


Are you considering becoming a foster family?

Are you thinking about giving a child a new home? Here are some great resources to learn more about the requirements and steps involved in becoming a foster family and how to prepare for a foster child and online directories that can help you find a foster care agency in your area, that can match you with a child who is a good fit for your family and vice versa: Foster Care to Success, AdoptUSKids, Child Welfare Information Gateway, and others.

Foster and Adoption Agencies and Resource Centers – we’d love to work with you

We admire your work and would love to work with you, whether it be through fundraising, raising awareness, or donating copies of our book.

Contact us to discuss potential partnership opportunities.

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