The foster care child binder is one of the most important tools to help you keep track of all of your kiddos very important paperwork. I found that in the foster care world, it is very rare that the people you think should be in contact with each other actually are. For example, we had a social worker and an adoption worker at one point. I thought that since they worked in the same building, they surely would have asked each other important information regarding my daughter. This is not true! Get used to being the central hub for everybody. You contain all important information for all of them concerning the children you have in your home, and they will not communicate anything to each other. This is not because they don’t care, they simply don’t have time. They have a lot of children to keep track of; being a middle school teacher in a previous life, I understand this. That is why it is crucial to keep track of all of the paperwork for your kiddo in a very organized manner. Plus, you never know if your foster kiddo will move to a new home, so keeping track of their paperwork so that their new caretaker knows everything about them is very important.
All of these are free printables that you can find by registering here, so you too can put together an organized foster care child binder for your foster child.
I would also like to point out that I use a foster care agency or FFA for short. They provided me with a foster child binder in a specific order. This follows their order, but I realized that I needed to add a few more tabs for my organization style.
***This posting has been updated to include the newest printables.***
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you we may receive a commission if you purchase products from one of our links. However, we only recommend products we love. See full disclosure here.
Following is a step-by-step guide on how I created my child’s foster care child binder.
First: Gather your supplies-
Second: Print your organizers and your dividers
1. Print the cover and dividers on card stock. If you want your dividers to stand out more, you can buy colored card stock. White card stock happened to be cheaper, so I went with white.
2. Everything else will be printed on white copy paper
• 1 copy of the list of contacts
• 1 copy of the foster child visit log for social workers and other county workers
• 1 copy of the height and weight record
• 1 copy of the medications record
• 1 copy of the visitation record for the biological family
As a side note: the beauty of this binder, and using these specific materials is that if there is something you will not use or need, just leave it out.
Third: Hole punch your dividers/ place your tabs/ and label them.
I love these write-able tabs because they don’t fall off of the dividers. The dividers that came with my daughters binder from our FFA used the tabs where you have to insert the little paper. I dislike them A LOT! The little paper things kept falling out, which made her binder a mess because I couldn’t find anything easily after a while.
1. I like to place my tabs with the sticky side on the back of the divider so that the front of the divider looks clean.
2. I also like to place the tabs so that I can see each one. I place the dividers in the binder in the order I want, and then place the tabs on so that they are spaced appropriately.
3. Next I use a sharpie to write on each one of them.
Fourth: Hole punch and place the rest of your organizers
Pictured is the order that I place my tabs and organizers.
The very first sheet should be your Child Profile. It is the quick at a glance form with a picture of the kiddo and some basic information. We had a Child Profile created for us by our Foster Family Agency social worker. If your social worker does not create one for you, try to find the answers to as many of these questions as possible and attach a picture. Remember, the binder travels with the the kiddo if they move foster families or have any respite care. This is a great at a glance tool for the new care-giver.
Tab 1: Intake Placement Documents. On the day of your child’s placement all documents concerning their placement would go behind this tab.
For us the Intake form was provided by our Foster Family Agency. It has recently come to my attention by a reader that this is not the case for everybody. This document was created for those foster families that do not have an intake form filled out for them by a social worker. You will want to find the answers to as many of these questions as possible. You may not find them all, but the answers are useful tools for you in getting to know the basics about the kiddo you just took into your home.
Behind the tab for intake paperwork, we also were required to fill out an initial body check. This was a paper that was provided for us, but if your social worker did not provide this for you I would definitely do it as soon as you get your new placement. Make a note of how that child came to you. Make a note of birthmarks, bruises, rashes, signs of neglect, basically everything. There are lawyers, social workers, mental health examiners, doctors that will ask you many questions, and in those questions they will most likely ask you about their appearance when they were first placed.
Being the devils advocate, it is also important to have records of how they came to you originally because of the suspicions behind foster care parents. Let’s just say a week into placement you take the kiddo to the doctor and the doctor noticed something peculiar about how jumpy they were when they touch the kids arm and discovered several bruises. You don’t want the suspicion to fall on you, when those bruises could have possibly come from the previous care giver. Recording and saving everything is your friend
Tab 2: Contacts.
There will be many people who contact you throughout this process. By the time we adopted our daughter I felt like a confused mess when it came to the people who had contacted me about her. I had some contacts logged in my phone, others on Post-Its in my desk, and some in Evernote. I needed a central hub for all of these contacts. Out of desperation to get organized these two documents were created.
The first is an organizer for you to record all people who have contacted you. Make sure to record their full name and their title. There is also a section for summary so that you can write down a summary for the reason of the contact or a summary of your conversation.
The second is an organizer for you to record all visits from social workers, attorneys, attorney assistants, mental health experts, etc.
*There will be many many many people who contact you about the kiddo, and the social workers will ask about dates and names. Do yourself a huge favor and keep a record, it will save you a lot of frustration.
Tab 3: Transfer/ Respite forms.
Tab 4: Medical Insurance Information. Place a copy of the Medi-Cal letter and Medi-Cal card copy here
Tab 5: Immunization record and birth/ hospital record.
Tab 6: Medication Reports, Exams, and incident reports.
Every doctors visit, a medical examination form must be filled out. These copies go here. If your child is given a prescription, an organizer is available to print to help you keep track of this as well.
Lastly, if your child ever gets hurt due to a fall or anything major, this will need to be reported. The incident report will go here as well. I would keep the most recent forms on top.
Tab 7: Height and Weight record. To help keep track of their monthly growth.
Tab 8: Treatment Plan. Our FFA gave us a packet that had a summary of their observations and the goals they wanted our daughter to meet. This is where those plans were stored.
Tab 9: Legal/Court Documents. Basically, everything concerning the courts that is mailed to you, that you submit, or are given goes behind this tab.
Tab 10: Education. If you have a school age child, you will want to store report cards, and school incident reports here. I didn’t have a school age child, but I did have her in daycare, so the certificate that the social workers asked for that showed my daycare was legit went here, and any incident reports if she had gotten hurt at daycare went here as well.
Tab 11: Special education: If your child has a mental health screening or any sort of special education report such as an IEP, BSP, IFSP, or any other services that require a report should be stored here.
Tab 12: Family Visits: Any sort of lists for approved visitors and a log that shows your visitation record should be stored here. Social workers will ask about visits, and it is handy to have all of those dates recorded with any sort of notes you may have concerning your child’s behavior during and after the visit.
Tab 13: Accountability Reports: Our FFA required this report to be filled out monthly which was a basic overview of everything they needed for their reports.
Tab 14: Allowance Log: This was not applicable to us since we didn’t have a child old enough to receive an allowance. But if your child is old enough to receive an allowance, this is where you would record and store that information.
Tab 15: Expense Log: It has recently come to my attention through a reader that some foster families may receive compensation for mileage. This was not something available to us, but it is worth asking your social worker about. If it is something that is available to you, the following tab and printable insert will come in handy.
I also included in the Free Printables a blank tab and a miscellaneous tab. So if there is something you would like to add to your foster care child binder, you can do so easily.
If you’d like to make your own foster care child binder, please register here to gain access to the free printable library.
***Please Note that in order to gain access to the printable library you need to fully complete the registration process, and you will be e-mailed the direct links to the library. If you are struggling, please reach out. I will gladly help you! 🙂
If you thought this was helpful, you may like these related posts:
My husband also wrote an AMAZING post on how you can back-up and save all of these hard copies.
If you have an idea for a divider that you’d like to add, or an idea for an extra component to the foster care child binder, please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. I’d love to hear your ideas. I’m all about bettering myself as a foster mama, especially when it comes to organizing all of this paper work. Let’s help each other out.
*Disclaimer: Please note that we are not experts. We are not social workers or lawyers. These are ideas that I have found handy for my own organization purposes. Everything you use should be used with careful responsibility since foster care is such a delicate topic. Please check with your social worker first before use of these ideas. For full terms and conditions of this website, please click here. End disclaimer.*
Have any questions about the supplies I used to create this organizational resource? Here’s a list!
Disclosure: This list contains affiliate links. This means at no additional cost to you we may receive a commission if you purchase products from one of our links. However, we only recommend products we love. See full disclosure here.
White Copy Paper
Card Stock (8.5 by 11)