Last week, I posted a new video on YouTube in which I shared five questions I would not have thought to ask at the start of a new placement, but, over time, I have learned to ask. Those questions are:
- Has this child (or these children) been in care before?
- When is the child’s birthday?
- Are their parents involved and engaged in services?
- Could you give the parent my phone number?
- Where does the child go to school, and are McKinney-Vento services in place?
I encourage you to watch the video for the full scoop on why I ask these questions—the first story will break your heart (but don’t worry—it has a happy ending!)
But I wanted to take it a step further in this blog post, because a seasoned foster parent who watched my video offered some additional suggestions for questions to ask. I’m grateful for her input, and wanted to share it here!
A viewer named Emily shared,
We also ask about how they are with animals because we have animals in our home. We ask about how many visits they have and what the transportation expectation is. We have said no to a placement because the kids had 2 visits with mom and 2 visits with dad each week; it’s great for kids to see their parents, but we couldn’t transport to 4 visits a week.
Emily makes two fantastic points.
First, if you are a home with dogs, and the child you are being asked to take is afraid of dogs, it would only add to their trauma to bring them into your home. You are not the right placement for them.
Second, Emily is so right—we all have a limited capacity, and while we support reunification efforts, including parental visits, four visits a week is a big ask—especially if you as a foster parent are expected to provide transportation. It’s sad when it comes down to that, but it is important to be realistic and honest about what you have the capacity for and make decisions about placements accordingly.
I’m curious to know what you would add to this list? Please share in the comments below!