When we first began the process of fostering, we were told in our licensing classes to be sure we were keeping track of everything! At the time, it seemed so overwhelming. We were still in the process of being licensed and had no clue just how much paperwork we were going to need to stay organized with… for each child.
For someone with a Type-A, overly organized, everything-has-a-place person, I began searching for ways to organize our foster care paperwork. I searched online to catch a glimpse of what other foster mamas were doing to stay organized, and while I found a number of great ideas, they either weren’t for me, or (to be honest) just not cute.
And so our Foster Care Organization set was birthed. I designed the You Are My Sunshine Organization Set for us to use personally, which just so happened to match our gender neutral You Are My Sunshine themed nursery. Remember, Type-A personality.
We used our new organization binder for several months with our first placement when I told my husband, “I wonder if other foster parents might be looking for the same sort of organization planner as I was.” And that very idea launched our Journeys and Dreams Etsy Shop full of great printables for foster parents, adoptive parents, soon-to-be parents, trying-to-be parents, and well, just parents!
Maybe you’ve been searching for a great solution to stay organized with the papers you have piling up and important documents you don’t want to lose. Maybe you’ve even purchased a Foster Care Organization Set from our shop and would like some helpful tips on how to put your organization binder together. Here are some easy-to-implement ideas from our home to yours! Grab a cup of coffee, and get ready to be inspired with some Motivation to get all your papers neat and tidy!
We have also attached some (affiliate) links to make it easier for you to find the items you need to put your own binder together. 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 and we try to find the best deals for you. Click here or on the picture to see our full disclosure.
Putting Together A Foster Care Organization Binder
Download a Foster Care Organization Set
We have plenty of different themed sets to chose from, and we are adding new themes to the shop regularly! While you may not want to place your foster child’s name on the front of the binder for safety reasons while carrying it out in public, choosing a different design for each child is a fun way for you to distinguish between binders. What’s even better – our Foster Care Organization sets all include multiple binder cover designs, so there’s no need to purchase multiple design sets if you are IN LOVE with one specific design!
You can have these printed through a printing service you trust, or you print them right at home! A 3-hole punch will be something you want to pick up if you don’t already have one. This nifty 3-hole punch stays right in your binder.
These Foster Care Organization Sets include a myriad of wonderful pages to keep your files organized and even include printable bin labels to organize the many clothes sizes and different age-range toys you have laying around. This makes it so easy to quickly find just the right items for a new placement who comes into your home.
(To see more of what is included in each foster care organization set, click on one of the organization pictures below to take you to our shop listings. Once in the product listing, click on the item description to see a full list of what is included!)
Thinking about purchasing an organization set? Use coupon code BLOG10 to receive 10% off your purchase of a Foster Care Organization set! Click on an image to take you to our Etsy Shop!
Grab a Binder and Tab Dividers
A foster care binder is easy to take with you to appointments and on-the-go! Whether you are traveling, or a last-minute appointment comes up, you will have the important documents you need right at your fingertips.
You can use whatever size binder you feel you need. We have found that a 1 inch or 2 inch binder works best. The size you need will depend on whether you decide to create a separate binder for each foster child, or place all their paperwork in one large binder.
We use page protectors to begin each Binder Section (section pages are included in the printable Organization Set from our Etsy Shop). These page protector sheets are great because they have easy to find tabs attached! You may also choose to print your binder sections on a thicker paper called cardstock for easier to grab feel while thumbing through your binder.
We use these business card protector sheets to store all of the contact cards we receive from our agency workers, the child’s case workers, GALs, therapists, attorneys, and pretty much anyone we come into contact with. You may also choose to store you CPR, first aid, and fingerprint clearance cards in this section as well. I choose to carry mine in my wallet, but it’s really just personal preference!
Keep Note-Taking Right at Your Fingertips
Let’s face it, we get random information thrown at us ALL the time! Here are some items you may find helpful to keep in your binder with you:
Pens and Pencils are a given. Whether you choose to go simple or fancy is really up to you! Sharpie pens, Sharpie markers, and highlighters are always great to have on hand too!
One great way to take quick notes is by using sticky notes – small, average, or large lined sticky notes. Writeable page marker stickers or a sticky note bundle can easily be added as well. And don’t forget to grab some paper clips! We use these often for keeping pages together to hand off stacks of paper to case workers, or just to keep our certain pages together in our binder.
Grab a cute and convenient 3-ring pencil case to store all of these items at the front of your binder. And last, but not least, some blank white paper or lined paper is nice to have accessible at the back of your binder as well.
Use A Flash Drive
Some inexpensive flash drives are the perfect addition to your organization set for a couple reasons:
1 – Storing Files
You can easily store files that are sent and received via email between you and anyone working on the child’s case with you (case workers, your agency, doctors and therapists, etc.). When you can’t carry a computer with you at all times, you will have these files readily available in your foster care binder when you might need them! You can also scan in any letters, cards, and pictures to save in your files then return to the child. You can even scan in any crafts or projects the child has worked on as a keepsake for their biological parents to see later, as well.
2 – Storing Photos and Videos to Send Home with the Child
Our phones are with us 24/7 and it’s so easy to snap a photo and catch a cute moment, and printing isn’t always easy. (And, do we really need to add an extra errand of photo pick-up to our schedules?) Transferring these precious photos and fun videos to a flash drive is an efficient way for you to pass on memories with the child’s birth parents or next placement when they leave your home.
Plus, you can always copy all the photos and videos to a flash drive of your own to store memories of your little ones as well while they were in your care.
We hope you have found these tips helpful and easy to implement! Share with us in the comments some organization tips and hacks you have found helpful throughout your fostering journey!
To see more helpful tips, including putting together a Life Book, and to learn about our foster and adoption journeys, click on the banner above!