Myth Busters: The Truth About Welcoming a Child in Foster Care

Discover the real process of welcoming a child in foster care in as part of our 'Myth Busters' series. Discover how families are involved from the start, ensuring a thoughtful and child-focused approach.

In the world of foster care, misconceptions can often cloud the reality of the experience. A common question many prospective foster carers have is whether children in care can arrive at their door without any notice. Let's debunk this myth and explore the actual process of welcoming a child into your home.

The Process of Matching

Contrary to the myth, our foster carers are involved in the process from the very beginning. Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, provides profiles of children in need of care. When you're ready to welcome a child, these profiles are carefully reviewed to find a potential match for your family.

"You're involved from the very, very outset. So we get contacted by Tusla every day with profiles of children. When you are available to take a child to come and live with you, we will look at those profiles and think, ‘Oh, perhaps this could be a good match for you and your family.'"

Informed Decisions

After reviewing the initial information about a child, if you express interest, we gather more details for you. You're included in all discussions with the social work teams, ensuring you have a thorough understanding of the child's needs and background. This process allows you to make an informed decision about whether you feel the child would be a good fit for your family.

Transition Planning

If you believe a child is a good match and everyone including, most importantly, the child agrees, we then plan what we call the transition into your care. This process is gradual and child-focused. It might start with you visiting the child's current residence, which could be with relatives or even birth parents. Gradually, the child may visit you, with meetings in the community and overnight stays, leading up to a moving day when the child is ready to live with you.

Sensory Considerations

During this transition, we pay close attention to the child's sensory needs as these can help ease the transition to a new home. This includes surrounding the child with familiar smells, touches, and tastes. We might ask you to use the same washing powder the child is accustomed to or have the child bring their own duvet to make everything feel familiar. These small details can significantly help a child settle into their new environment.

The journey of welcoming a child in foster care into your home is thoughtful, gradual, and tailored to the needs of both the child and your family. It's a process that prioritises comfort, familiarity, and the establishment of a nurturing environment.

Interested in becoming a foster carer and making a profound difference in a child's life? Apply to become a foster carer here or get in touch with Origins Foster Care's team of fostering experts to start your journey. Together, we can ensure that every child in care finds a loving and supportive home.

A portrait photo of Eithne Larkin, a team member at Origins Foster Care smiling and looking at the camera.
Written by:
Eithne LarkinEithne Larkin
January 26, 2024
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