Tips on Introducing a New Placement to Your Friends and Family
Many people wonder how to introduce a new placement to the people in their lives, especially those closest to us, friends, and family. I truly believe the best way is to first start by discussing that you are going to begin receiving placements in the first place, and WHY!??
I think many people miss the importance of educating those around them in regards to why they are getting involved in foster care in the first place.
Educating Friends and Family About a New Placement
This is a crucial aspect of the process. In addition, educate those around you as to what you expect from them in relation to the placements you receive. How you want to be called around your placements, how you want the children to be called and talked to. Especially what topics you want those around you to not talk about in front of the children.
Imagine, you are a child placed in another stranger’s home, you go to a big event with their family and friends and you hear whispers, people asking questions about their story, and especially any statements around their behaviors and how they look… if you were this child, how would you want to be SEEN, VALUED, and HEARD by those around you!!! Be mindful, be cautious, and be protective of these children. They have been through so many hardships. They deserve to have your placement, provide them an opportunity to be safe.
Introducing People to Your New Placement
Before a gathering or get-together with others, ask the children in your placement how they want to be introduced. Ask them about how long they want to stay and most importantly make sure they know that they don’t have to go if they are not ready to meet NEW people.
Give them an option to not go until they are ready. Even if it means someone misses out. This is one of the first ways that a child can be SEEN, VALUED, and HEARD in your home. Make this moment count.
Above All- Remember
Being SEEN, VALUED, and HEARD are the key components to feeling safe and attached to a caregiver. For these kiddos in particular they need to feel this from the start of their placement with you!
About Our Guest Author
Maurissa Szilagi is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and owner of her own practice titled The Connecting Therapist. She brings to this work over a decade of service to helping families work through issues around connection and attachment. As someone with first-hand experience in foster care, Maurissa is part of the 3% of former foster youth who’ve graduated from college. She has competed with the 1% of elite students and completed two academically rigorous programs.
Maurissa is determined to be a voice for foster youth in the importance of their emotional well-being. She wishes to change the lives of as many as she can. Her life’s mission is that all children who have encountered trauma and foster care get the chance to heal and live a life they can be happy and proud of. We are grateful for her unique understanding of mental health and the foster care community. We hope her insights offer you guidance and comfort.