When you are preparing for placement, it can be difficult to remember all the things to ask the foster carers or social workers. This list of questions has been pulled together from suggestions from our Forum users.

Don't forget, if you have any questions or concerns about matching, placement or introductions, you can call our Helpline on 0844 848 7900 (Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm)  or send them a message online.

 

Routine

  • Can they dress/undress themselves?
  • What boundaries have been set?
  • What is their daily routine? Can you write it out for us?

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Food

  • Any feeding/swallowing issues?
  • Are they good or fussy eaters?
  • Does it take a long time for them to eat a meal?
  • How often do they eat and how much do they eat?
  • Are they having baby food and if so, which varieties do they like?
  • Are they weaned and if so, when?
  • If they are weaned, what type of food are they eating - textured, smooth, finger food etc.
  • Do they have any food allergies?
  • Do they have formula (what make) or cow's milk (full fat or semi-skimmed)?
  • How much milk do they have?
  • What are their food likes and dislikes?
  • What do they usually drink?
  • What food do they usually eat?

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Bathtime

  • Do they like being in the bath or is it stressful for them?
  • Do they like brushing their teeth? Do they need help with this?
  • Do they like having their hair brushed, washed, dried?
  • Hairbrush or comb?
  • How do you wash their hair and with what?
  • What shampoo and bubble bath do they have?
  • When and how often do they have a bath, morning or evening?

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Sleep

  • Do siblings sleep in the same room?
  • Do they use a dummy - just at night or during the day too?
  • Do they have any other comforters - just at night or during the day too?
  • Do they nap, if so when and where?
  • Do they need a nightlight on?
  • Do they sleep soundly or does the slightest thing wake them?
  • How are they sleeping?
  • How do you soothe them back to sleep during the night if they wake up?
  • How do you deal with nightmares/monsters under the bed?
  • Is their cot in a particular place in the room - near or away from the window?
  • Do you have anything in the cot - toys, mobiles etc.
  • Is there any music used to help them sleep?
  • What bedding do they use - blankets (how many), duvet, sleeping bag?
  • What is their sleep routine (time, stories, bath etc?)
  • Will they sleep in the buggy or the car or do they have to go to bed to sleep?

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Toilet training

  • Are they toilet trained?
  • Do they need help with the toilet and washing hands etc?
  • Do they suffer from nappy rash and, if so, what cream do they use?
  • How did toilet training go?
  • What are they like having their nappy changed? Are they reasonably happy or do they hate it?
  • What is their nappy size?
  • What make of nappy, wipes and creams do they have?

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Behaviour

  • Can you identify what their particular cries mean - they need food, changing etc?
  • Do they have any (rational or irrational) fears - flies, spiders, loud noises, water, smells, places, activities, beards, people with glasses, anything unusual?
  • Do they have tantrums and, if so, what triggers them? How long do they last?
  • Do they react to pain or the distress of others when they are with you?
  • How can you tell when they are angry or scared?
  • How can you tell when they are hungry or tired?
  • How do they cope with pain - do they have an overly high or low pain threshold?
  • How do they show affection? Are they cuddly or do they push you away?
  • How easily are they calmed?
  • How would you describe their behaviour and personality?
  • If they have any contact with their birth family, how does it affect them?
  • Is there anything that triggers a particular feeling (anger, happiness, fright, distress) for them?
  • Is there anything that particularly delights them or gets them excited?
  • What do they use to comfort themselves - blanket, dummy, rag, toy?
  • What do you do to comfort them - cuddle, stroke, hold them in a particular way?
  • What is their general outlook on life?
  • What/where is their 'quiet space' or sanctuary?
  • What do they understand about their own safety - not playing with matches, dialling 999 etc?

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Products

  • What air freshener do you use?
  • What perfume/after shave do you wear?
  • What washing powder/liquid, fabric softener, tumble dryer additives do you use?
  • Which baby products and toiletries do you use?

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Medical

  • Can I have access to the child/ren's medical records?
  • Are their inoculations up to date?
  • Are there any upcoming appointments?
  • Are they a sickly baby?
  • Are they having any specialised care/therapy etc?
  • Are they teething?
  • Do they go to the dentist regularly? How do they feel about these visits?
  • Do they have any allergies to products - washing powder, plasters etc?
  • Do they have any special needs?
  • Do they have dry skin or baby eczema? What products do you use? Are they over-the-counter products or prescription?
  • Do they like calpol or do they prefer nurofen?
  • Have they had any grief counselling?
  • Have they been screened for hepatitis a/b or HIV?
  • Have they had any childhood illnesses - chicken pox, glue ear, sticky eyes, conjunctivitis?
  • How did you handle teething? Is there anything they liked/disliked?
  • What happens when they are teething - rash, fever, drool?
  • How much do they weigh?
  • How tall are they?
  • If they take medication, how and when are they given?
  • What do you do when they are feeling unwell?
  • What is planned over the continued review of any medical conditions that are already identified?
  • What was their head circumference at birth and now? (This measurement gives a good indication of likely future growth).
  • When are their next medical/dental/opticians appointments? Are they up to date?
  • When was their last dental appointment?

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Development

  • At what stage of development are their speech and language skills? Are there any issues being, or to be, addressed?
  • Do they have any particular talents and attributes?
  • How do they compare in development milestones to a typical child of their age?
  • How is their intelligence and understanding?
  • How mobile are they?
  • What has their physical development been like?

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Education

  • Can they speak/read/write/draw?
  • Can we see any of the things they have brought home from school?
  • Do they have a best friend at school/nursery?
  • Do they have any frends away from school/nursery that they may miss?
  • Do they have any specific skills or attributes - a fantastic dancer, for example?
  • Do they like going to nursery or school?
  • What was their last report like?

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Social

  • Are there any other children in the foster care placement (siblings or other children) and how do they get on with them?
  • Are they used to playing with other children and having them around?
  • Do they prefer the company of children or adults more?
  • Do strangers upset them or make them anxious? Do they have stranger fear?
  • Do they have difficulty with hugs, eye contact, touch, close proximity?
  • Do they like their birthdays? How do they feel about celebrating other people's birthdays?
  • How do they cope with parties?
  • How do they feel about Christmas?
  • Do they play well with friends? Are they leaders or followers?
  • Do you take them to toddler groups?
  • How are they with new people?
  • Which adult are they closest to?

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Animals

  • Are there any animals they are frightened of?
  • Are they accustomed to any pets/animals?
  • Did the birth family have pets?
  • Do they like cats, dogs, birds, farm animals?
  • Do you have pets?
  • How do they behave around pets or other people's animals?

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Activities

  • Can they swim? Do they swim regularly?
  • Do they like dancing and singing?
  • Do they like playing in the garden? Do they enjoy it even when the weather isn't fine?
  • Do they like sports and outdoor activities?
  • Do they like travelling in a car? Are they good passengers?
  • Do they like walking?
  • Do they ride a bike? Do they have their own bike?
  • Do they suffer from travel sickness?
  • Have they travelled a long distance in a car?
  • Do you use a baby sling/carrier?
  • Have you taken them abroad on holiday? If so, where?
  • Do they have a passport?
  • Have you taken them on holiday in this country? If so, where?
  • Is there any particular equipment you take with you when you are out and about with them?
  • Do you have special seating arrangements - at home, at tables in restaurants, in the car?
  • What are their favourite indoor/outdoor games 
  • What are their favourite places to visit - park, swimming pool, woods, farm?
  • What are their favourite smells eg seaside, flowers, woods?
  • What are their favourite songs?
  • What are their hobbies and interests?
  • What size and make of child seat do you have in the car?
  • Do they have any toys or mirrors attached to their car seats?
  • What kind of pram/buggy/pushchair are they used to?
  • What sounds or noises do they like to hear?

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Clothing

  • Are there any clothes that they dislike wearing?
  • Are there any clothes that are particular favourites?
  • Do they have a good range of seasonal clothing to bring with them?
  • What are their clothing sizes?
  • What size feet do they have?

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Toys/books etc

  • Do they have any favourite toys and/or books?
  • What are their favourite television shows or movies?
  • What is their favourite music?
  • Is there a theme to their favourite toys/books/tv?

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Possessions

  • Is there anything that they really love that they won't be able to bring with them?
  • What clothing, toys, bedding, books, CDs, DVDs, photos, documents etc will they be bringing with them?
  • Can you tell us who gave them which possessions - birth family, other foster carer? Which are significant or most precious and why?

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General

  • Are there any photos we could take with us?
  • Do they have any nicknames?
  • How are their religious needs being met? Do the birth family want them to be practicing their faith?
  • What is their legal status? Are their any court dates? What is the likely outcome?
  • Double check anything that you have been told by social workers or medical advisors with the foster carer.
  • Where are all their legal papers, health records, personal papers, school/nursery reports, old birthday cards, old photos etc?

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History/family

  • Are there any mental health issues that you are aware of within the birth family?
  • Are there any other siblings? What is their status? How are they doing?
  • Did siblings have a similar ante-natal experiences?
  • Are there any genetic illnesses that you are aware of within the birth family?
  • Were they born prematurely and, if so, how premature?
  • Was there any substance abuse or smoking during their pregnancy?
  • What is their ethnicity?
  • What was their birth weight, length and time of birth?

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Future

  • Can we call you to ask more questions in the future?
  • Do you think that there will be a lot of problems when they move on?
  • Do they understand about adoption?
  • Do they understand about their past and future? If so, how much have they been told?
  • Do they understand what has happened to their birth mother and/or father?
  • Do you want to keep in contact?
  • Is there anything that you would like to know about us?
  • What and who do you think they will miss when they move on?
  • When can we give them something of ours - an item of clothing or a toy - for them to get used to?

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Adoption plan

  • What contact with birth family, including siblings, will be expected?
  • What is the plan for reducing contact with birth family (if any contact is currently taking place)?
  • What is their adoption plan?
  • Who supports their plan - guardian, courts, birth family?
  • What assessments have been undertaken and when - medical, sibling, attachment?
  • What reports have been produced and when - medical, school, nursery, foster carer, sibling, attachment specialists, psychiatrist?

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