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Gift Ideas for New Foster Parents

A lot of people have been asking us what we need and how they can help. A group of my closest friends even threw me a little “baby” shower. (That deserves it’s own post…as soon as I can track down some decent pictures! I did take this one of my awesome niece. She’s not so sure about that camera I’m sticking her face. Don’t mess with her, she’ll punch your lights out.) So, in case you know some new foster parents and are looking for ways to bless them, I’m sharing what I’ve learned. Please note: this is NOT a plea for more stuff. We have almost all we need already covered. Also, this list is slanted toward newborn-5, our age range.

Before the first child arrives, what to get:
books, books, books
kids CDs for the car, for dancing around the house, for night time
games
car seats
child proofing safety items (outlet covers, medicine lock box, night light, cabinet locks, etc.)
kids tableware
rocking chair
infant and child medical kit
bath toys
staple toys (blocks, cars, dolls, puzzles, instruments)
stroller
movies
bedding
towels
booster seat
shopping cart / high chair cover

Before the first child arrives, what NOT to get:
gender specific items (this mainly applies to sparkly pink and purple things)
items with a limited age range (mainly infant items)
big toys (take up too much space)
clothes

Child-specific gifts / After a child is placed, what to get:
attachment building helpers (photo albums, snapfish gift cards, vouchers for outings)
child specific clothes*
child specific toys*
age specific equipment (lots of fancy gear out there for newborns, for example)
thoughtful, encouraging card
offer to babysit
meals
duffle bag, suitcase or backpack (to keep personal belongs in if moved to another home)

*Foster parents are given a stipend specifically intended for clothing and allowance for children. With our agency, we’re required to spend at least $1 a day on clothing and a $1 a day on fun things for each child. Some children come with a lot of toys and clothing already, especially if they’re moving from one foster home to another. Sometimes they only come with the clothing on their backs. Check with the parents to see if clothing is a need. Same goes for toys. Keep in mind anything purchased for the child after his or her arrival belongs to the child and goes with him or her if reunification happens. Gifts purchased before a child arrives are considered family gifts and stay with the foster parents.

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