Children are NOT Placements!
I know, so many people argue that the word used does not matter, but children in care have voiced their thoughts on the use of this word, and they do not want to be known as “placements”, they are children in care. We should respect how they feel, after all they are in care likely because their needs and voices were never valued or respected, so let’s start in the simplest form, by not calling them something they have asked us not to call them.
The definition of placement according to Merriam Webster online dictionary ” an act or instance of placing: such as. a : an accurately hit ball (as in tennis) that an opponent cannot return. b : the assignment of a person to a suitable place (such as a job or a class in school)”. Where is this definition did it say “a child in care”? It doesn’t.
In the case of fostering, the “place” is your home. You can find a child a “placement” (so you can find them a suitable place to live) but the child does not become the “placement”. The child will always be “the child”. If you have a home with three bedrooms, you have three places available for children to move into. The children will be placed in the available spaces. Once there they are not placements, they are still children.
Why does this matter? First off it is very close to another word, placemat. A placemat is an inanimate object, something that people move around to put plates on and eat off of. This item is not really well cared for or well thought of, it is just a boring everyday item used in the home. Who wants to be thought of in this way? nobody.
Calling a child a “placement” also takes away the importance of who they are. You are having a new foster child move into your home, you are not having a placement move into your home. You are having a real live person with needs and emotions come into your care, they are not devoid of feelings and emotions (calling them a placement takes away the importance of who they are and their needs).
Please, words are powerful, stop using placement when talking about a child in your care.