When a child enters foster care, they often lose SO much. A foster care welcome basket is a great way to welcome kids into the home and ensure they have some items of their own.
In this post, I’ll show you the welcome baskets I made for my new foster teen and baby and what I decided to put in each.
What to Use for the Welcome Basket
I struggled with figuring out the best container for the welcome baskets. I really wanted something that fit the following criteria: collapsible or small, multipurpose (like a laundry basket), and cute.
Many foster parents use wicker baskets- like an Easter basket- but I didn’t think that was the best use of my limited storage space after the kids have opened their baskets. Some also use duffle bags, but to me that just reinforces the idea that they are only going to be at your house a short time.
I spent a few hours looking for a collapsable laundry basket at several stores and struck out. I think the collapsible laundry baskets would make the perfect foster care welcome basket because they are cute, can be super small and serve a dual purpose.
What to Include
What to include in your foster care welcome basket will depend somewhat on how well you know the child and if you have the chance to meet them before they arrive. Here are some general things you could include regardless of age and specific child interests:
- Fuzzy or weighted blanket
- Soft pajamas or socks
- Hygiene items and brand new towels
- A card or personalized note
- Nightlights- if you don’t already have them (yes, even for teens)
Stuffed animals are also great for all ages! I recently purchased a weighted stuffed leopard (shown in the picture below) at target and even I love to cuddle with it!
You’ll want to include different things based on age and gender. Here are a few ideas for various age ranges.
- Board books
- Clothes and a couple bibs
- Diapers and formula/ food
- Stuffed animals
- Washcloths or a hooded towel
- Coloring pens/ crayons
- Outdoor activities
- Fidget toys
- Bath paint or bubble bath
- Legos, dolls or other small toys
- Journal/ notebook and fun pens
- Face masks or other spa items
- Make up and/or nail stuff
- Board games or video games
My new placement- a teenage girl- loves Coca-Cola! I’ll be including a 2 liter of Coke just for her. While you may not know you’re child’s preferences- use what you do know to make it as personalized as possible.
Important Considerations in Making a DIY Foster Care Welcome Basket
While almost everything is fair play in foster care welcome baskets, here are a few important exclusions.
Food Considerations: If you’re not aware of allergies or sensitivities, make sure you are including only snacks that are free of common allergy-inducing ingredients.
You may also consider the cultural backgrounds of your foster child. Welcome baskets are meant to be comforting, so foods that are expensive or too healthy might be unknown for the child. My teen is from Latin America, so I made a trip to our local Mexican grocery.
Weapons/ Games considerations: You’ll want to steer clear of any fake weapons or violent video games. Kids in foster care may have experienced violence in their past and don’t need the reminder.
I would suggest including some board games or other activities you can do together with the child or as a whole family (especially if you have other children). It’s an excellent way to bond without too much pressure or awkwardness.
Clothes or items with phrases or words: Because I accept placements from the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor (URM) program, most of the kids who will be placed with me don’t have a wide vocabulary in English so wording on items won’t work unless it’s in their language or it’s a well-known brand (such as Nike and “just do it”).
However, regardless of the specific type of foster care placements you will receive, avoiding items with words is a good idea. A lot of baby and kids clothing has phrases about ”mommy,” ”daddy,” “grandma/ nana” or “grandpa/papa.” This can be really confusing and sad for kids who aren’t with their biological family members.
My Foster Care Welcome Basket Items
Throughout this post, I’ve mentioned a few things I’ve put into the baskets, but here’s what I have so far in each basket:
Teen Foster Care Welcome Basket Items
- Gel pens (eventually I will find a notebook or sketchpad to go with)
- A heat mat for a curling iron or hair straightener
- Coca-cola and snacks (chips and gansitos, a Mexican version of a Twinkie)
- Soft pj pants
- Nail polish
- Hairbrush and hair ties
- New towel and washcloths
- Loofa and other spa items like face masks
- Hygiene items including feminine products
Infant Foster Care Welcome Basket Items
- 3-pack of bibs
- Bath book
- Silicone teether
- Water coloring book
- Soothing musical hedgehog
- Diapers and wipes
- Socks and a couple onesies
If you are foster parent- leave a comment about your foster care welcome basket items! What are your favorite comfort items?
Time to put these comfort items to good use…