Your First Placement - A Guide

The first time a child is placed into your care will be a new experience for all.  Somethings like meeting the basic needs of a child can feel familiar and universal.  Yet navigating the resources, systems, and legal procedures can often feel foreign and surprising.  Here's a guide to help you navigate through these first few weeks.

The Call:

The first placement starts with a call.  You'll get a call based on the information you gave us when you initially interviewed and told us which type of children would work best in you support structure.  Sometimes these placements may be placements emergency placements due to a child being removed from a situation, other times, these are children that are already in the system that may be a good fit for you.  Though we call you knowing that your willing to take children, and we take our time to make sure your family and situation needs are met, you always have the option to accept or deny any placement.  We know the emotions and adrenaline will hit, but you've trained for this, you've spent countless hours thinking about this, and we trust you!  It's ok to have those feelings: Trust your gut and make the decision thats in the best interest of you, your family, and this child in need.

Now would be a good time to start asking yourself some questions: Is the house ready for this child? Depending on the age, you may need to make some minor adjustments.  Do you have all the things you need? You can ask your social networks if they have extra articles of clothing or furniture you may be able to have or borrow to meet the needs of the child that you are fostering.  

The Meeting

It's time for the child to be placed.  The first meeting is important for both of you

Getting Yourself Ready
Plan for the child's arrival and think about how you will love your child and make them feel comfortable.
Have a room ready with fresh bedding, toiletries and toys (especially stuffed animals).
Plan for the signing of several documents and have a place to store all of your important paperwork.
Prepare for visits from case workers, therapists, Youth in View staff and others pertinent to the child's welfare.

The Child
Because of their histories, it is often difficult for foster youth to trust the loving adults in their lives, which often results in perplexing behaviors. You, as the adult, are there to provide the necessary care for them. Its okay to be nervous but be honest in answering any questions the child might have. Throughout the entire first day, keep your child informed of what will happen next. Knowing a plan can help give some children a sense of security.

The First 72 Hours:

Every child placed in Foster Care will enter into a hearing with the state to determine if Department of Family and Protective Services has made the correct decision based on the evidence to place the child in foster care. This is typically the time in which the judge will make the decision to keep them in the custody of the state and therefore, placed with you. They are typically searching for family to place the child with that may be appropriate.  Within the first 72 hours, you can expect to:
  • Get a medical exam for the child 
  • Get a WIC letter stating the child is remanded to your custody
    • This is a letter to prove that you have guardianship should you need it to prove they are in your custody (ie for school pick up, or doctors appointments)
  • Make the child feel comfortable
    • establish house rules
    • create a safe space for the child to sleep, night lights help
    • books and toys
  • Enroll the child in School
    • see TEA guidelines for child nutrition programs

Family Resources

There are many great facebook groups you can visit and ask questions you may be having: Foster The Family
Visit the Resource Room at the Youth in View office in Desoto, Texas. Here you can find free gently used clothing, shoes, toiletries, toys, books and more.

Shopping For your Child

You are repsonsible for shopping and feeding the foster child.  However, there are some support systems available for every child in the foster system.  The WIC Program (Women Infants and Children) can supply food and nutition needs to children under 5 to supplement their nutrition.  Formula is provided for infants under 1 year old, and specialty formula is provided with a prescription from a doctor.  Set up an appointment with your Local WIC office and take your WIC letter.  LINK

Respite Care

Respite care provides temporary relief for a primary caregiver, enabling you to take a much-needed break. Check with your case manager for requirements and planning.


All children in foster care are required to be enrolled in school within two days and there's immediate school enrollment without records in Texas. Students in foster care are categorically eligible for all U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) child nutrition programs. Foster Youth in Texas receive free lifetime college tuition and fees waiver. Check TEA guidelines for assistance.


All children in the foster care system are awarded state provided health care.  A medical exam is required within 3 days and 30 days. Though you cannot make major medical decisions for the child, you are expected to take care of them medically with preventative and emergency medicine, and having the necessary documents will make those issues easier 


The child may be separated from some of their family members and siblings. Making contact with them is mandatory and can be coordinated with your case manager.

The First Month

The state will start to design a permanency placement plan.  This will outline what the expectations for reunification are for your foster child.  This will also outline visits with their biological family...
  • Establish a transportation plan (transporting kids to visits and appointments are required)
  • 30 day medical exam
  • Secure placement documents
    • Proof of guardianship
    • Get a WIC letter stating the child is remanded to your custody
      • This is a letter to prove that you have guardianship should you need it to prove they are in your custody (ie for school pick up, or doctors appointments)