Seven Things Every Foster Home Should Have

Every foster home should be shrouded in love and affection, fitting each child that occupies it. The items that provide the comforts of home and that respond to each child’s needs are also an essential part of having a great foster home. A group of child welfare professionals and experienced foster caregivers created this list of seven things any foster home could benefit from having. 

  1. Weighted Toys or Blankets 

For children 4-years and older, weighted blankets and toys can provide comfort, better sleep, and can help with anxiety. While the blankets should not be used by anyone who cannot lift them, the benefits of a weighted blanket can be similar to being hugged or held. 

  1. First Day Care Package 

So often, foster youth are removed from home or from one placement to another with few possessions of their own. A first day care package containing a blanket or stuffed animal, new toiletries, and essentials fitting the needs of the child’s age group can supply an immediate feeling of welcome. We also suggest providing a journal and food in these care packages. A journal can provide a place for reflection and a way for a foster child to write notes or letters and help communicate with the foster parent initially. Many foster youths come from situations of abuse and neglect where food insecurity is so common. Some snacks just for them can help meet immediate hunger and provide comfort until they feel safe enough to ask for food. 

  1. Chill Out Area 

A Chill Out Area is a corner, room, or nook with soft items that render a sense of calm. Children and youth who experience anxiety and panic and who struggle with emotional regulation can benefit from a quiet place to call down. A Chill Out Area could have a soft chair, rocking chair, or bean bag chair. It could include fleece blankets and pillows, books, and calming toys. Visual items like a lava lamp, hourglass, or snow globe can be calming too. 

  1. Household Calendar 

Foster youth and foster caregivers are tasked with juggling multiple appointments, visits, and hearings on top of school and family functions and the schedules of the other children in the home. A visible calendar of activities can help foster youth to feel more aware and included in their schedule.  

  1. Suitcases and Duffel Bags 

Unfortunately, when foster youth are removed from home or moved from a previous placement, they arrive with their things in a trash bag or grocery bags. You can supply great dignity to the process of moving by providing a foster child with their own suitcase or duffel bag for their things.  

  1. Corkboard for Family Photos 

In addition to the state-mandated accommodations your foster home should include a corkboard for the bedroom or area where each child sleeps and keeps their things and can be a great way for them to customize their space and display their family photos and artwork. 

  1. Extra of Everything 

Anyone who has moved once knows how things get lost, broken, or destroyed in the process. Many foster youths can move multiple times in just one year heightening the possibility of losing their personal items. Also, the home situation they came from may mean they come to your home with dirty or unsalvageable items. Keeping extra undergarments, pajamas, socks, toiletries, and clothing can only help provide further comfort to a foster child joining your home.