Published on July 4, 2024

The Essential Items You Need as a Foster Carer

Becoming a foster carer is an incredibly rewarding experience. You get to provide a loving home and stability for a child who needs it. However, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Ensuring you have all the right equipment and supplies will help make the transition smoother for both you and the child. Here are the key things you need to get before your first placement.

Prepare the Bedroom

Having a welcoming, comfortable bedroom ready will help the child settle in better those first few nights. Here are some must-have items:

  • Bed – A sturdy, supportive bed frame with a good quality mattress. Consider their age and size needs.
  • Linens – Purchase all new pillows, sheets, comforters etc. Let the child pick the colours and patterns they like.
  • Storage – A dresser and wardrobe for their clothes and a box for private possessions.
  • Decor – Ask them their preferences and decorate together. Personal touches make it feel like home.
  • Night light – Many children take comfort in having a soft light. Choose one that emits a calming glow. 

Having their own dedicated space and belongings provides security. Take time to make it just right for them.

Stock Up on Supplies

There are essentials you’ll need to purchase on an ongoing basis. Having these items ready to go will make day-to-day life smoother:

  • Health supplies – Thermometer, basic first aid kit, any prescription medications etc.
  • Hygiene items – Soap, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste. Let them pick their favourite scents.
  • Home needs – Kitchen utensils, school supplies, arts and crafts materials etc.

Make a list of everything you think you’ll need for their age and discuss it with your caseworker. It’s better to have too much than not enough.

Childproof Your Home

Take time before the placement to thoroughly childproof your house. Look at safety from their height level. Things to check include:

  • Lock away medications, toxic chemicals, sharp objects etc.
  • Use safety gates near stairs and anchors for furniture that could tip.
  • Cover plug sockets, pad hard furniture edges, and install window locks.
  • Examine for loose or sharp edges on toys and repair as needed.
  • Check for small objects that could pose a choking hazard if swallowed.

While you can’t prepare for every scenario, making simple adjustments now reduces the risk of accidents and injuries.

Learn Their Routine

When a child first enters your home, maintaining a familiar routine provides comfort. Before they arrive:

  • Find out their nap schedule, bedtime, morning rituals etc.
  • Ask which foods they like and don’t like.
  • Note the activities they enjoy – this helps engage and bond with them.
  • Discover the best ways to soothe them if upset. Each child has different needs.

The more you understand their unique routine and personalities ahead of time, the easier the transition will be.

Affording the Necessities

So, how much do you get as a foster carer? Foster carer stipend amounts vary but through an agency like Foster Care Associates, you can expect to receive on average, just over £25,000 a year, tax free.  The stipend covers a child’s basic needs, along with a professional fee that rewards a carer’s hard work and dedication.  Focus first on providing a loving, nurturing environment.

Be Prepared Emotionally Too

While material items help, fostering a child takes emotional strength too. Some tips:

  • Connect with an experienced foster carer as a mentor. They can provide invaluable advice and support.
  • Be open with your own family and friends. Explain how they can best support you on this journey.
  • Attend training sessions to keep developing your skills as challenges arise. Every child is unique.
  • Make time for self-care. Maintaining your own emotional health enables you to be fully present.

Fostering is an unpredictable, intensely rewarding human experience. Preparing as much as possible creates stability while also staying flexible to a child’s evolving needs. With an open heart and the right tools, you’ll change lives.


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