Triage (pronounced /ˈtriːɑːʒ/) is a process of determining the priority of patients' treatments based on the severity of their condition. This rations patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately.
That is Wikipedia's definition of triage. As a foster parent you have to be good at triage. Assess the damage determine priority needs and treat. Sometimes your logical response is to focus on the material because they come with so little. If this is the case ignore the logical, go with your gut. I mean provide for basic needs clean pjs, bed, bath, food. Asses the damage. These kids have been traumatized and not just by their home situation but also by the removal itself. Imagine it. A stranger comes to your home, or school or daycare picks you up your parents may be there crying or screaming or fighting or maybe they are not there at all. This stranger then takes you to an office where there are more strangers you sit. then you are taken to a house where there are more strangers and then the stranger that picked you up leaves you with more strangers. This only compounds the trauma that got the children into the system. You will receive very little info at placement as to what they have been through. So you have to use intuition and decide what would make them feel as safe and secure as possible. You have to apply pressure and stop the bleeding. It is different with every kid sometimes it is lots of hugs and reassurance, sometimes it is allowing for space. Sometimes it is providing items they ask for, having someone who can run to the store for you (will talk about this more in the next blog) and get some pull ups with their favorite character or a favorite book. It usually means limiting the people that come through your house and the places you go for a little while. I usuallly try to establish routine as quickly as possible while allowing flexibilty for adjustment as needed. It is finding a balance between normalcy and dressing the gaping wound that is there. I have had kids come to my house with no problem come in climb right on my lap and start talking. I have also had kids come to my house so traumatized that they can't eat or speak they had to be hand fed and coached through everything for a couple days. Asses the damage, prioritize, apply pressure, stop the bleeding as best you can.