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Old 09-03-2008, 05:59 AM   #1
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tips to prepare for foster kids???

I am such a planner, that waiting for our license and subsequent 1st placement has me out of sorts.
I need something practical to keep me busy. Can you think of things that I should have ready?
We're accepting up to 3 kids age four and under.

How do you get ready for an unknown. When DD came home I knew who to expect and how to prepare, this is so foreign to me.

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Old 09-03-2008, 07:28 AM   #2
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Re: tips to prepare for foster kids???

I would recommend watching Garage Sales in your area for some EUC clothing newborn to size 5 both genders/all seasons.

We accepted only age 2 and under, but occassionally had an emergency placement of up to age 5. Also, you never know how big a child will be for age - so if you go up a year, you will be covered.

Our foster babies/toddlers either came without any clothing or what they came with was totally unacceptable (terribly stained, holes, etc.). Since our area has frequent garage sales with EUC clothing that is very inexpensive, I had a "stash" of 3-4 outfits of each size/gender/season (especially PJ's - those are so expensive to buy new on short notice!). I also had several friends offer me their babies/children's clothes, equipment, etc. since we did not have children of our own while we were doing foster care. That helped too - I had almost everything we needed from "hand-me-downs" which was great. Our state would give a once a year stipend per child to cover clothing/start up costs (carseat, etc.) - but it is grossly inadequate!!! I think it was around $200 for an entire year. We usually did short term placements, so we wanted to save that money for their permanent foster parents to use as needed.

You should be covered for one gender somewhat for clothing/shoes since you already have a 4 year old - unless you have gotten rid of things already!

I would also have extra carseats, because again, usually they come without one or the ones that they have been using are unsafe or inadequate. If you have a large network of friends, usually someone has one you can borrow in a pinch or can buy used (with good known history of course).

You can always keep extra toothbrushes, paste, combs/brushes, etc. too. We have had placements that arrive with head lice, so I use to keep products to deal with that (thus avoiding a trip late at night - did that once!), but they are expensive and can expire - so I'm not necessarily recommending that. But our policy was that we didn't share hair brushes, they each had their own new one that would go with them. I also had the small travel pillows so that they could have their own pillow to go with them too.

Also a few diapers, training pants, etc. of all sizes to avoid a last minute scramble. Esp. a few disposables for parent visits, etc. That is another place where you can purchase a few of different sizes from friends (or they may just give them to you - since you won't need many, just a few "insurance" sizes again to avoid late night or inconvenient trip to store.) We rarely had more than a few hours notice (if that) for most of our placements. Usually we had time with the preemies because they knew in advance prior to their hospital discharge that the parents couldn't care for them. The rest came with little planning time.

Also, even if you are a stay at home mama, I would find a back-up daycare that will take them. There are always doctor appointments, etc. where you may need alternative care. Every state may differ in whom they will allow to watch them in your home, but usually will accept a state licensed in home daycare or center.

HTH! Good luck!
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:28 PM   #3
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Re: tips to prepare for foster kids???

Oh, I never thought about hairbrushes. (and lice) Gotta hit up the dollar store again, I think.
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:03 PM   #4
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Re: tips to prepare for foster kids???

We were originally going to take up to 2 kids, nb - 3, so I made sure I had 2 of everything like bouncy seats, car seats, excersaucer, booster seats, etc. FreeCycle is great. I went on and asked for ppls hand me downs for foster care and got a lot of nice stuff, including toys, strollers, & pack n plays. For diapers, I bought one pack of size 3s and one of 6s. Those two will cover almost all kids. You may also want a pack of nbs or 1s, just in case. Like pp said, at least 2 outfits in every size. You can use large t shirts for pajamas for both sexes, so some, like, size 6-8 or 10s. Socks and underwear. Formula and bottles!! Try and get a sample can (know any nurses or drs?), or get some unopened from a friend who is no longer using it. Sippy cups. Pacifiers. Different KINDS of pacifiers (you know how kids are! picky picky). A box of baby wipes. Good luck!
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:36 AM   #5
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Re: tips to prepare for foster kids???

I went to the Salvation Army to find a few clothes. That kept me busy! Mostly gender neutral things- like overalls, jeans- it has been great to still be able to use them on our kids! I also started to crochet- I made a hat a week before A came. It was supposed to be for a friends newborn, but it was huge. God KNEW A was coming and I get teary-eyed every time I see it! A didn't come with any shoes that fit. I should have been looking for shoes of some sort, but didn't think about it. I'm sure there are gn tennis shoes or even slippers of some sort. Socks too. I had a few bottles, paci's, cup/plates. I also found a few books and toys. Sounds like you might be set with those.
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:16 AM   #6
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Re: tips to prepare for foster kids???

Good luck!!! I would suggest being well rested ahead of time!!
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:35 PM   #7
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Re: tips to prepare for foster kids???

LOL - well rested, I wish my 4 yr old still doesn't sleep through the night. I am going on the mindset, that at least it won't be a shock to my system to be permenantly exhausted.
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:36 PM   #8
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Re: tips to prepare for foster kids???

I remember those days of trying to plan. I over bought. I too am a planner by nature, and I felt I had to have everything done in advance. I know have bins of clothes that haven't been used. Spent hundreds of $$ on things that may never get used. So I'm thinking of reducing my stuff.

But since you are on a cd board, I'm guessing you plan on cd'ing your foster kids. In that case, I would get a variety of prefolds and covers, and a few OS dipes to fill the gaps. Once you get a placement, and know if they'll be with you longer then a week or two...you can get more dipes (and clothes) to get you by.

I've had my current placements for over 7mo. They've outgrown an entire summer season worth of clothes. So when they leave, those clothes will stay and I will have 2 entire wardrobes of infant boy summer clothes! Depending on when they leave, I may end up with an entire wardrobe of winter clothes too. Yes, I have a shopping problem and buy way more then any child would ever truly need. When they leave, they will leave with 2 weeks worth of clothing...they will have plenty, and I will be left with plenty for the next little boy.

In our state, OK, you have to have the basics for the ages you are licensed for before they will place a child with you. So if you are taking LO's, you would have to have appropriate beds (cribs), car seat etc. The other stuff, isn't needed...but cribs and car seats are the min gear you want to have.

I'll be back later to post more. DS wants the puter.
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Old 09-06-2008, 11:13 PM   #9
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Re: tips to prepare for foster kids???

Amy ~ I thought of shoes when I went to buy outfits, but didnt buy any b/c I didnt want to spend the money on kids that werent in the house yet. I figure that if I get a kid who does not have shoes, what shoe store is going to object to me bringing in a shoeless child?? It's a guaranteed sale, haha.
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Old 09-07-2008, 07:02 AM   #10
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Re: tips to prepare for foster kids???

I did pick up some gender neutral Robeez in varying sizes, so I could at least have something on their feet.

Here's what I have:
shoes
toothbrushes
bath wash
lotion
towels
beds
car seats
girl clothes - all sizes
boy clothes - 3-18 mos, just a few to get me by
sleepers
blankets
pillows
CD - all sizes, except trainers
bottles
pacis
cups/plates

still need:
gates
double stroller
maybe more boy clothes?

what else
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