I'll admit that I stock up on all sorts of thrift-store items for my foster children. I buy bulk lots of clothes on eBay for them. It's impossible to afford a brand-new wardrobe for every child that comes into my home. But it's NOT impossible to buy them a few new things, that THEY picked out. And I think it's extremely important that you get your child new things while they live with you. I realize that if your child comes to you with two shirts and a pair of pants- it's more financially-friendly to buy them bulk-lots of used clothes. And that is fine as well! But treat your kid to a few new things once in a while. It won't break the bank, but it will make a difference- and here's why:
Most kids in foster care are constantly getting hand-me-downs and used items. There are a lot of organizations that outfit child services with lightly used items for kids in care. With that being said, the kids almost NEVER get to pick out these items for themselves, and none of the items are personalized. They're used to getting these 'used' things handed to them- and although they are obviously grateful, the items don't always feel like 'theirs' because they don't necessarily match their personal style or preferences.
Personalized items can mean a lot to anyone, but especially a child in foster care. Living in a world where everything is 'temporary' is tough. They have a 'temporary family', a 'temporary bedroom', possibly a 'temporary school' and 'temporary friends'. So having something permanently theirs can mean so much. Having a bedspread that THEY picked out can be such a nice thing for them to bring from place to place. Having clothes that express their style and were purchased brand new for them can help them keep a bit of their identity amidst all of the changes.
Another reason new things can mean a lot- is because OTHER kids have new things. Simply because they are in foster care does not mean they should not be able to have new and nice items. But a lot of times that's the case. And 'foster care' is used as an excuse to let a child go without new and nice items. New clothes can help your child feel more confident in school. Personalized bedroom decor can help them feel more at home in your home. Give them the same things every other kid gets to have. The time they live with you, and their 'foster' status shouldn't prevent them from being treated to quality items once in a while.