Log In

Reset Password

The forgotten foster care system

First Prev 1 2 Next Last

The nature of growing up in foster care inherently implies that there has been trauma experienced by the child. This sometimes continues while in care. The very act of separating a child from their parent is traumatic, in addition to the troubled circumstances these children are often being brought up in.

Any child who enters the foster care system should receive therapy to assist with the complexities that surround their situation

Any child who enters the foster care system should receive therapy to assist with the complexities that surround their situation. These children are dealing with the turmoil of the problems that caused them to be in care, the separation from family and have now been placed in an alien environment.

Children who enter at older ages are often deemed “troubled” or “rebellious”, but an abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is in fact a normal reaction. These children have not been given the proper assistance to be able to process the things that have happened to them, but are still expected to function as “normal” children even though they have not been given the tools to do so.

Those that enter the system at a young age are at a vulnerable time where they may not understand entirely what is happening, but still feel the effects. It is the subtle experiences in life that will have profound impacts on them. Whether it is a Mother’s Day lunch at school or even families on the television, the message is the same: “I am different.”

This often manifests in themselves as they grow older — of feelings of inadequacy or being unlovable — as they grapple to understand why they don’t share their life with the person who gave it to them.

The trauma does not end once they enter the system. Many enter homes where they will continue to face physical or verbal abuse. However, this is often overlooked by social workers who are overworked and managing hectic caseloads. Social workers sometimes conduct the meetings with the child in the company of the foster parents. This obviously does not allow for the child to speak freely and openly about problems in the home.

There need to be better mechanisms in place to ensure the child’s safety while in care. Proper training is in need for all those who choose to become foster parents because raising traumatised children requires special dedication and delicacy. Patience and love are required to return these children to a place of safety within themselves.

Foster children who run away should not be punished but protected. The hostility that is often complained about is sometimes a signal of maltreatment by the caregiver, but this is often overlooked and written off as the child being “troubled”. Although at times these children are generally ill-tempered, this is understandable when you consider that to some degree they are coping with abandonment. This is why it is crucial for all children who are in the system to receive professional support to help regulate their emotions — but the environment that the foster parent creates must also be one that allows children to reconcile their pain.

Given the way in which the care system is set up at present, it is unsurprising the number of children who age out and end up homeless, struggle with substance abuse, are unemployed, face teen pregnancy, and battle with mental health issues and more. Despite them now being of adult age, this can be attributed to them being burdened still with “inner child wounds” that cause them to make such destructive life decisions.

They never got the opportunity to deal with the compacted traumas of their life and are then thrown out into the world and expected to function as contributing members of society. We cannot say that they are “falling through the cracks of the system” if the system was not designed to uplift them in the first place.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published June 02, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated June 02, 2022 at 7:54 am)

The forgotten foster care system

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon