After you’ve been approved to become a foster parent, it can be difficult to play the waiting game. You’re anxious, nervous and excited all at once. You want to have enough time to properly prepare for a child, but you don’t want to wait around for months either. So, when will you get your first foster child placement? The answer is different for everyone, and it depends on a few different factors.

The first factor that determines how long you might wait has to do with the number of foster kids in your city. Some cities have more kids in need than others, as well as an abundance or lack of foster parents. If you’ve been accepted to foster, odds are you’re familiar and educated on the state of the foster community in your area. If you have questions, simply reach out. Get plugged in and ask other local foster parents how long they waited for their first placement. 

Your waiting time will heavily depend on the types of children you’re available to foster. If you’re able to take in special needs children, trauma children and teenagers, odds are you’ll have a much quicker placement than if you were only available to take young kids. Children with complex situations are common in foster care, and unfortunately, the availability of foster homes fit for them is rarer. However, don’t agree to take a child that you’re not fully prepared to care for. It is much more important for those children to find a suitable home to help them thrive.

The rise of kinship care in many areas is making the foster placement process longer for some parents. Kinship care is where family relatives care for children who would otherwise go into the foster care system. There are many pros to this, and it ultimately supports the main goal of foster care, which is to reunite children with their parents when the right time comes. However, there are still plenty of children who don’t have this option available to them and need a foster home. 

Once your first foster child arrives- no matter how long the wait was- it will be well worth it. Being able to provide safety, care and support for a child in need is a feeling unlike any other, and all the frustration and worry that came with your wait will be forgotten.