INTRODUCTION An ideal environment for the social, emotional, and developmental growth of children does not always exist in today’s society. Family units that have become separated due to family or behavior problems often contribute to delays in these areas. In order to promote continuity in the social, emotional, and developmental growth of children who have been victims of family disruption, children are often removed from the home and placed in foster care. Placement in the foster care system affects children in a unique, individual fashion.
The affects of child-care by non-parental custodians, though subjective in nature, have common parameters that must be addressed and examined. Understanding foster care placement is crucial in order to fully evaluate both its advantages and disadvantages. WHAT IS FOSTER CARE? According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, “Foster care means 24-hour substitute care for all children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the State agency has placement and care responsibility.” Though this definition excludes children in privately funded foster care arrangements, placement in a facility not governed by a state agency is often sought for children. Placement with either a state agency or a privately funded program can either be short-term lasting several months, or extend for a period of years as in long-term placement. The duration of time spent in the foster care system is dependent upon the existing safe home based environment">home environment and the ability of the caregivers in the home to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child. An evaluation of both the present and pre-existing home environment is crucial in making the decision of whether to remove the child from foster care and reunite them with their parental custodians or to continue placement in the foster care system.
... that determines the success of children rearing Strength of the foster care system The foster care system help parents in finding what ... might a very structured family environment work with young children, but cause adolescent children to rebel? Between the ages ... governmental authority. These children are placed under the care of another family either through voluntary placement by a parent ...
FOSTER CARE PLACEMENT Though it is difficult to separate a child from his parental custodians, foster care placement is deemed necessary in situations of abuse or neglect. Severe behavioral problems on the part of the child as well as a variety of parental problems, including abandonment, illness (either physical or emotional), incarcerations, alcohol / substance abuse, and death, are also reasons deemed legitimate to warrant removal from the home. A child, who has been subjected to this type of environment, needs to be provided an opportunity of security and caring. Foster care is often the answer to break this cycle.
Reasons for foster care placement vary, as does the length of intervention. Although foster care placement is intended to serve as a temporary haven until children can safely return to their family, for many children it does not serve this purpose. This is the result of children moving from placement to placement, which undermines the efforts to promote stability and continuity in the life of the child. Failure to find a satisfactory and suitable foster care arrangement can be as detrimental to a child as the environment from which he or she was removed.
Children of all ages, ethnicities, and genders enter the foster care system. A dramatic increase in foster care placement has occurred over the last ten years. Over 500, 000 children currently reside in some form of foster care. An analysis of data has provided statistical information concerning the age, ethnicity, and gender of children placed in foster care.
... begins when a child or youth enters foster care and continues through the post-emancipation period; stabilize foster care placements to ensure educational ... showed that about half of the children in foster care nationally were age 12 or older, and that many ... support and concrete assistance, including health care, basic necessities, and formal aftercare services through age 21 (Nixon, 1998).These ...
African-American children make up approximately two thirds of the foster care population. The average age of children in foster care is 10. 6 years. The proportion of male and female children in the system is nearly equal, though there is a slightly higher percentage of males than females, 52% to 48%.
EFFECTIVE FOSTER CARE The ultimate objective of foster care is to promote the well being of the whole child by providing a safe, stable, and nurturing environment for the child. In order to facilitate the healthy development of the child, careful planning is necessary on the part of the foster family and state agency. There must be goal-oriented case planning and family involvement that includes a systematic process to reach these goals. A time frame needs to be established in which these goals need to be met. The foster child needs to be included in the decision-making process concerning the future.
Ongoing screening and assessment is critical. Child adjustment needs to be addressed and can be achieved through sharing feelings and explaining the need for placement. EFFECTS OF FOSTER CARE PLACEMENT ON CHILD Children in foster care face multiple obstacles to their healthy development, including poor physical health, attachment disorders, compromised brain functioning, inadequate social skills, and mental health difficulties. Even in the most successful foster care placements, children will experience a sense of loss associated with unfamiliar home surroundings, a disruption in daily routines, and loss of personal belongings, pets, and family members. How a child experiences loss depends on many factors, including the child’s developmental level, the significance of the people separated, whether the separation is temporary or permanent, and the degree of familiarity of the new surroundings. This sense of loss is manifested in various ways depending on the chronological age of the child.
In infancy, trust issues can be present. Crying, withdrawal, and apathy are manifestations of loss at this age. Between the ages of two and five, sadness, hopelessness, denial, and guilt, may be present and the child may exhibit, clingy, anxious and obnoxious behaviors. School or learning problems, between the ages of six and eleven, may begin to appear.
Abstract The project was designed to address high increase in homeless youth not transitioning into adulthood successfully. In fall 2011, a review of the literature confirmed the existence of high rates of homeless youth not transitioning into adulthood successfully. The literature attributed the problem to several causal factors of low income jobs, unemployment, and lack of formal education. ...
The formation of self-identity occurs between the ages of twelve and nineteen, a crucial period for children whether or not involved in the foster care system. This time of conflicting emotions can be amplified for those in foster care placement. Destructive behavior such as substance abuse, eating disorders, and depression can surface at this age as a result of stress. Children in foster care struggle with emotional issues associated with both their pre-placement and placement environments. They often blame themselves and feel guilty about removal from their home. They experience feelings of helplessness, insecurity and uncertainty about the future.
Mixed emotions about attaching to their foster parents and only reluctantly acknowledge positive feelings for their foster parents are often evident. These children exhibit problems with attachment due to insecurity about continuity in their lives. Foster children are in a state of limbo, grieving for the past and stressing about the future. Children in foster care are more likely to engage in early sexual experiences, often resulting in unwed parenting. The number of sexual partners also is greater. Rates of delinquency are higher for children who have been in the foster care system.
Academic performance is often minimal and sub-standard, resulting in a dependency on welfare in adulthood. RECOMMENDATIONS Placement stability is necessary for foster care to be effective and to be a nurturing environment for the child. Since all children need continuity, consistency, and predictability, multiple placements are injurious and can be as detrimental as the pre-placement environment. Placement decisions should be individualized for the child’s best interest and should maximize the healing process. On-going, active communication must be maintained and include all parties engaged in the foster care arrangement. A foster care environment void of love, stimulation, and discipline undermines the rationale for initial placement.
Decisions concerning assessment, care, and planning need to consider the strengths and challenges of each child. CONCLUSION Foster care is not an automatic cure-all for a child who has been victimized in his or her home environment. It can, however, with proper placement, provide a safe and nurturing environment that will encourage self-growth and self-achievement. The ultimate goal of foster care placement is reunification with the family. Plans must be implemented so that this goal can be achieved.
Keeping children healthy and safe is very important. To ensure children’s health, safety and wellbeing every home nations has sets of standards or welfare requirements which settings must meet. The standards vary from country to country, but they all exists in order to protect children. Child care practitioner need to be familiar with minimum Welfare requirements, Safeguarding children, Promoting ...
The problems leading to foster care placement need to be rectified before a safe return home is possible. Failure to fully assess the situation will reap only negative results and problems may escalate. The welfare of the child must be the primary concern. BIBLIOGRAPHY Barrier, Selena. “The Effects of Grief and Loss on Children in Foster Care.” Fostering Perspectives. November 2001.
Conn, R. A. “Developmental Issues for Young Children in Foster Care.” Pediatrics. 5 November 2000. H ueber, Ruth A.
“The Effects of Foster Care on Children.” Child Welfare Research. 9 November 2001. Marshier, Connie. “Reform the Nation’s Foster Care System.” Family Research Council.
10 January 2005. Stewart, Gordon. “Safety and Stability for Foster Children: A Developmental Perspective.” Journal of Pediatrics. February 2003..