Psychological Effects of Foster Care on Children<br />By: Aneela Qadir, Camelia Milnes, Seneca Schwenning, and Shayne Rowlands<br />
…before entering foster care.<br />A child is placed in foster care only if he or she has been subject to physical abuse since it is not easy to determine what psychological harm has been done to the child. <br />A negative home environment such as witnessing or experiencing physical abuse can cause a child to adapt a similar violent lifestyle.<br />Many parents whose children are placed in foster care have a history of substance abuse. The use of alcohol or drugs during pregnancy can have detrimental affects to a child’s health including fetal alcohol syndrome. This can lead to mental retardation, heart defects, growth deficiency, and extreme nervousness. <br />
…before entering foster care cont.<br />“Several of the children I worked with had fetal alcohol problems. Some of them had rage problems, some had nerve problem (where a single drop of water falling on their foot would cause to them to shriek) or problems with textures.” – Social service/foster care worker Flora Giesin <br />Prior to foster care services, a child may be moved to a relative’s home in order to maintain emotional ties with the family.<br />
…immediate effects of foster care.<br />Once social services determine a child’s home to be unsafe, the child is then placed under the guardianship of the government. <br />Some immediate emotional effects of this transition include isolation, anxiety, and the loss of the ability to trust others, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway.<br />These children who have experienced emotional, physical, or environmental neglect often experience symptoms of depression and withdrawal, once removed from their biological mother. <br />
…immediate effects of foster care, cont.<br />Children often feel trauma when they are taken from their biological homes and are seperated from their parents and sometimes siblings. <br />Some foster care households take advantage of the system, taking in these children for mainly governmental benefits. In such cases, the foster home is not much better than a child's former home. <br />On the other hand, some kids are placed in safe environments, where their basic needs are met. Loving families provide a sense of security and compassion for these children .<br />
…immediate effects of foster care, cont.<br />“Freedom from fear, uncertainty, and physical [or] sexual abuse is a relief for the child.” - Social service/foster care worker Flora Giesin<br />Siblings are often kept together in all situations so that the child does not completely loose connections with their biological families. If siblings must be separated, sibling visitations are a mandatory obligation of the adoptive parents. <br />“There [is] always regular supervised visitation between the parents and children during the plan period and both parents and children attend psychological counseling, both individually and as a family.” – Social service/foster care worker Flora Giesin <br />
…immediate effects of foster care, cont.<br />Children who loose all forms of connection with their biological parents receive psychological treatment in order to help them cope with the separation. Social workers and psychologists work with the children to create “life books,” filled with images of their previous family and home. <br />
…long-term effects of foster care.<br />Nearly 80 percent of young adults who have experienced neglect or abuse are diagnosed with one or more psychiatric disorder. <br />Abuse often causes dentrimental mental and emotional health problems including decreased self-esteem, depression, and relationship issues, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.<br />Antisocial traits are very common amongst abused children. <br />.<br />
…long-term effects of foster care, cont.<br />Many children need therapy and medication to cope with what they have experienced in their past.<br />Many children don’t feel worthy of love since they were mistreated by their parents.<br />Due to a desire to belong to a family or group , foster children often feel isolated. Some of them struggle to maintain their jobs in the future and may become involved in criminal activity.<br />
…long-term effects of foster care, cont.<br />Approximately 60% of foster care children suffer from developmental disorders such as those related to language, problem-solving, motor coordination, and growth development. <br />Many foster children feel devalued by society due to people’s low expectations and the common misperception between foster kids and delinquents. <br />Foster care places emotional strain on children who understand that they have been permanently separated from their biological families.<br />
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