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Foster Care; A Glimpse

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Kashous has been a Resource/Foster Parent since 2016, since that time she has had upwards of 40 children pass through her home.

A Glimpse

No Child is placed into the foster system through any fault or actions of their own. At some time, in their young lives, somewhere a grownup has failed them. Sometimes foster care can become as bad as the situation the child is being removed from. What I mean by that is, a child can be in an out of the system so many times waiting on their parents to "get right" that the behaviors they learn can be just as detrimental to them then the behaviors they were learning with their parents.

There are not enough foster homes for the children in the system. Children have been known to have to sleep in the county offices, waiting on a bed to open in a residential home, such as mine. I have been told by many of the older children that not all foster homes are good places to be. Truth be told, it doesn’t matter how good the home is or is not, it’s still not their home. You could place them in a palace, and they would still want to be with their own family and have that family doing right by them. Many of the older children, teens, are not even considered for residential foster homes, they are put right into group home facilities. These facilities vary in security and comforts. Some facilities are like homes but have four to five girls or boys to a room, some are more like institutions with automatic locks on the doors and guards posted.

A lot of foster parents don’t really understand the trauma that every foster child has been exposed to. You can’t be removed from your home, by strangers and introduced to more strangers and told this is where you are living now, without causing trauma, not to mention the neglect or abuse that was happening in the home for the child to be removed in the first place. I think some foster parents have unrealistic ideas of what fostering a child will be like. Many children are nonverbal, they are behind in mobility and cognitive functions. Stress and trauma put young brains into survival mode, and the brain is essentially rewired into a fight or flight response, or a hide and cower response. These children become excellent at “reading a room”, at figuring out where the “safe place” is. For many homes the children experience a “honeymoon” period, this is to say, everyone is wonderful to each other for about two weeks, sometimes less, at that point the kids are starting to get the lay of the land so to speak and may start to become comfortable enough to let some of their personalities show through, and they may even begin to show poor behaviors. This could be because they are comfortable, this could be to see what will happen and how their behaviors will be received, it could be because they just can’t hold it all in anymore.

Foster children come with behaviors that some parents are not prepared for. Getting a child counseling immediately is a big help, however, that brings issues also. Many times, counseling will bring breakthroughs that trigger behaviors. These breakthroughs can be good for the child but really hard to live with. A lot of the children go undiagnosed with PTSD, or they are labeled with ADHD, or no diagnosis is given at all. It is hard on a foster home when they receive a child that are just coming into the system, that has no diagnosis, and no one really knows what to expect. Parents should keep documented notes and be in constant communication with the child’s assigned case workers.

Case workers tend to change quite a bit, the turnover in caseworkers in my county is very high. It is not uncommon for one child to have four different caseworkers in a three-year span or less.

I wish more people knew about foster care. I wish more people asked more questions about the kids in foster care. I wish that people didn’t jump to assumptions about children in the foster system. I think the only way to make these things happen is to get the word out. Talk to people, get them thinking, “how can I help?” “What can I do personally”? Maybe then we can discuss this topic openly and honestly.

© 2022 Kash

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