Thousands of kids in the U.S. are in the foster care system. Many of these children are in foster care temporarily before returning to their birth families, while others remain in the system until they’re adopted or turn 18. These children often face unique challenges and significant adversity, but with your help, as well as family therapy and other care services, they can live happy, healthy lives. Here’s what you should know to be an excellent foster parent.
What Challenges Do Foster Kids Face?
Research indicates every 47 seconds, an American child suffers from neglect or abuse. The issue affects kids of all social and economic statuses, races, ethnicities, and religions. Many kids are removed from their homes and put in foster care due to abuse or neglect, and about a third of those in the foster care system have severe emotional, behavioral, or developmental problems as a result. Physical health issues, including injuries and malnutrition, are also common.
In addition to these challenges, foster kids deal with a significant amount of emotional and psychological baggage, including feeling guilty or at fault for their circumstances. They may feel helpless and insecure about the future and have difficulty trusting people, including foster parents. Many children also have mixed feelings about their birth parents, which can be challenging to grapple with.
What Can You Do to Help?
Fortunately, kids are resilient and, with love, care, and therapy, they can overcome adversity. As a foster parent, it’s your primary responsibility to ensure a child’s basic needs are met, providing them with food, water, shelter, and medical attention. However, it’s also essential to ensure they get the emotional, social, and educational support they need.
As mentioned, therapy is a significant part of this. You’ll also need to coordinate with social workers, teachers, and school counselors, working as a team to help your foster child overcome the challenges presented to them. It’s important to be patient and educate yourself on the particular difficulties foster kids face and how it affects their psyche and development. Seeking a support system of your own, such as attending group therapy with your foster child and working with social services agencies and community organizations, is also helpful.
Becoming a foster parent is a selfless, challenging task, but the compassionate team at Families Inc. is here to help you and your foster child thrive. With 11 locations in northeast, north central and central Arkansas, this Jonesboro-based counseling agency is one of the state’s most trusted sources for behavioral and mental health services, including therapy. Call (877) 595-8869 to schedule an appointment with a caring counselor today, or visit the website to learn more about how they can help you and your family.