Tips for Setting Up a Foster Care Bedroom

Great tips for setting up a foster care bedroom or preparing a room for adoption. Including 9 things you might not think of when setting up the perfect bedroom for foster care.

Great tips and ideas for a foster care bedroom. Plus 9 things you might not think of when setting up a room for foster care or adoption.

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When you first make the decision to become a foster parent or an adoptive parent, there is always some excitement associated with preparing a bedroom for your new child.

Tips for Setting Up a Foster Care Bedroom


There are a few things a room needs to be considered a “bedroom.”  Of course, always check with your state or agency for a full list of requirements.  Here are a few things to consider:

Door – A room must have a door that a child can close for privacy when dressing.

Window – A window is required as a secondary means of escape in case of fire.

Climate Control – The room must have a heat source and a source of air conditioning in the summer.  These requirements vary based on climate and state.  For instance, there are some northern states that do not require air conditioning.  Be sure to check with your state or sub contracted agency for requirements.

Clothing Storage – Some states require a room to have a closet to be counted as a bedroom.  However, sometimes you can add a portable closet, wardrobe or large dresser.  Be sure to check your state requirements.

Download my free printable home study checklist below!

9 Things You Might Not Think of for a Foster Care Bedroom

Night lights – Remember that children who are new to your home do not know the layout of your house as well as you and your other children do.  Children who have moved from home to home sometimes wake up disoriented and may not remember where they are.  Also, children who have been through trauma, even older children, may have some lingering childhood fears that a simple night light can easily soothe.

Mattress Protectors – Sometimes these are needed even for older kids who have lived through trauma.

Command Hooks – These are great for making space for hanging all sorts of things on the wall on short notice.  I recommend keeping these on hand even if you are not planning to foster.  We use them all the time!  They are also a great safety resource for keeping cords and bind pulls out of the reach of small children.

Comfort Kit – Children who are moving into their first placement will often arrive without comfort items.  Comfort kits for all ages are a great thing have on hand.  You can find some great comfort kit lists on pinterest.

Essentials Kit – Having essentials on hand for children of all ages (or at least the ages you are open to fostering) is always a great idea.  Many times kids will arrive at your home with almost nothing.  It helps to not have to immediately run out shopping.

Consider No Carpet – Messes are lots easier to clean from hardwood floors or laminate.  This is by no means a “must” for fostering, but if you have a choice, you might consider it.  Some kids need to make huge messes to express how they feel.  If you can give them space to do it, or make clean up easier on yourself, its a win win!

Waste Bin – Just a small trash can, maybe with a lid, may not seem like a very important item for a bedroom.  However, kids who have come out of difficult situations often need a place to throw things away.

Hiding Place (Box for Items) – Some children have “stuff” with them from their home that they want to keep, but they don’t want to see it every day.  They don’t want to talk about it, and they certainly don’t want other people having it.  Providing a safe place to keep things like this can solve some issues.  The child knows their items are safe.  Plus, you know where they are and what they are.

Communication or “Worry” Board – Talking can be intimidating.  Using a communication board or a worry board, for children in crisis can keep a line of communication open without them needing to talk.  This does not have to be a public board.  A small dry erase board in the child’s bedroom works well.  I like to have it close to their bed, so they can easily jot down what they are thinking about while going to sleep. Learn more about how to use a worry board for foster children here.

You can find ideas for several types of worry boards here including both DIY and purchased options.

Great tips and ideas for a foster care bedroom. Plus 9 things you might not think of when setting up a room for foster care or adoption.

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  1. I love this list. It may be years before we are able to foster to adopt (we’re waiting until our baby is older for sure and so far we don’t have a room available for fostering), but these are some great suggestions! Thanks for sharing them.


  2. Hi Melissa,

    I just found your blog, and, I’ll be honest- I was a bit hesitant to open it…not because I didn’t think you would want to help, but because I’ve sadly heard a ton of poor advice given by well-meaning people who truly hadn’t yet gotten to know many children in care yet- at least not enough to begin meeting their very real needs.

    Thank you for sharing this post! I wish I had read it before my children came home through foster care adoption. I was ready to meet their physical needs. I just didn’t yet understand how their physical needs and emotional needs were linked. I didn’t have practical steps to help them feel safe and heard in their new environment.

    I look forward to learning more from you!

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