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Raising children is one of the most important responsibilities in any society. Today, working parents have many options, but what about those children who have neither a mother nor father? What about those children who come from broken and abusive homes? In such cases there are often few choices. Parentless children may be placed in orphanages or in foster homes. What Is Foster Care?
Foster care is the temporary placement of a child outside of the home of the natural parents. Children are placed with a foster family by the state’s Child Welfare organization usually due to abuse, neglect, illness, or abandonment or whose parents are unable to fulfill their parenting obligations because of illness, emotional problems, or a host of other reasons including adoption. Foster care can be a negative option for many children because they are more likely to get in trouble. They are torn away from everything they know and love and they may have a hard time being placed in a home that suits their needs. Additionally, there is the possibility of the child being wrongfully removed from the home. (Sarah 2014 P. 3) Foster care can be helpful in aiding parents get the parental training they need to be better parents.
However, this can be detrimental to the child if they remain in care for long periods of time and it also takes a toll on society. Research has discovered that adults and teens that were placed in foster care were more likely to go to prison, become homeless, have a higher rate of teen pregnancy, and receive welfare benefits. Less than half graduate high school than those that were placed back in their biological parents homes. Since the findings of these studies there has been more of a push from the government to place these children back in the homes with their natural parents or with adopted parents as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the push for placement may not be in the child’s best interest. If parents are pushed to get their children back within a certain time frame, they may not have ample time to get the treatment they need to be fit parents. On the other hand if parents are not able to complete the classes and treatment required by the courts and child welfare in the time frame given, they may risk losing their child and having them put up for adoption. (Sarah 2014 P. 4) The Challenges
Living within the foster care system can be trying for both children and foster parents. From a child’s perspective, the foster care experience can be emotionally traumatic, and it is associated with detrimental developmental outcomes and lower educational achievement. Foster parents are often expected to care for children, many with special needs, with inadequate financial support, minimal training, and limited access to respite care. The foster care experience from the perspectives of both children in care and foster parents is discussed below. ( Children who are removed from their homes and placed in foster care often experience detrimental short and long-term effects.
Researchers estimate that 30% to 80% of children in foster care exhibit emotional and/or behavioral problems, either from their experiences before entering foster care or from the foster care experience itself. Children entering foster care may experience grief at the separation from or loss of relationship with their natural parents. Children in care also face emotional and psychological challenges as they try to adjust to new and often changeable environments. Within three months of placement, many children exhibit signs of depression, aggression, or withdrawal. Some children with severe attachment disorders may exhibit signs of sleep disturbance, hoarding food, excessive eating, self-stimulation, rocking, or failure to thrive. The Outcome
Many children who are trapped in foster care would be far better off if they had remained with their own families and those families had been given the right kinds of help turns out that’s not quite right. In fact, many children now trapped in foster care are far better off if they remained with their own families even if those families got only the typical help (which tends to be little help, wrong help, or no help) commonly offered by child welfare agencies. That’s the message from the largest studies ever undertaken to compare the impact on children of foster care versus keeping comparably maltreated children with their own families. Children in foster care face a challenging journey through childhood. In addition to the troubling family circumstances that bring them into state care, they face additional difficulties within the child welfare system that may further compromise their healthy development. This research discusses the importance of safety and stability to healthy child development and reviews the research on the risks associated with maltreatment and the foster care experience.