Most children in foster care are frightened and confused by the separation from their parents. Although they are placed with a trained and supportive family, in reality, these children have been removed from everything familiar and placed with strangers. Some are angry. Some are sad. Others think they are being punished. Most children need foster parents because of something done to them, not something they have done. They are not “bad” children. They come from bad situations but not bad families.
Children in care tend to have issues and behaviours that likely wouldn’t be seen among children who have always lived in a safe, stable and supportive environment. Adjustment takes time. Children placed in foster care may attend counseling or therapy to help them deal with the complex circumstances in their life. Over time, sad and mad feelings and behaviours gradually lessen as children come to know and trust their foster parents and feel safe with them.
Children most likely to need foster families are:
Being a foster family is not without its challenges. A child or youth who is in the care of the CAS is experiencing a difficult time in his or her life. Children are often not able to express their true sentiments or make sense of their lives when they are severely disrupted. As a result, it is not uncommon for children in care to exhibit a range of challenging behaviors. A child may be prone to temper tantrums, exhibit sneaky behaviour, tell lies and talk back. A child may be severely withdrawn or have great difficulty bonding with members of your family. These are some of the many challenges foster families face in caring for their foster child.
A further challenge faced by foster families is saying goodbye to the child whom they have nurtured and cared for, perhaps for a few months, perhaps for a few years. Foster families will tell you that saying goodbye to a child is probably the greatest challenge of all. As hard as it can be, every foster family finds a way to deal with this issue. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t have foster families. Foster families believe the rewards of fostering far out-weigh the challenges. Again, if they didn’t hold that sentiment, we wouldn’t have foster families.
“…I remember being taken to the police station and being left alone for what seemed to be hours. They were trying to find a place for me to stay. I had nowhere to go. The only thought in my head was of my poor Mom and how angry she would be at me for putting my father in jail. The situation seemed hopeless. I no longer had a family; no place to stay. I was beginning to forget why I had spoken up in the first place. That was when I was placed in a foster home which, over the years, I've come to call my home.
During the first month in my new foster home, I was overwhelmed by the endless love that I received from these complete strangers. For the first time in my life, I felt safe: nobody to yell at me, twist my ears, beat me with a broom every time I did something wrong, and most of all, nobody to touch me where I didn't want to be touched.
Putting the abuse behind me those first few years was a living nightmare. There were many lonely nights when I cried myself to sleep, hoping and longing for all of it to end. What a comfort it was to always have my foster family at my side through it all. Even though they could never fully understand what I was going through, my foster family shared my tears as well as my laughter.
Now, those events seem so distant to me as though it happened centuries ago. My life is so peaceful, it's like a dream come true. When I reflect back on the events in my life, I would not be the same person I am today had it not been for this wonderful family who lovingly and unconditionally took me into their home.”
Minh, age 20, excerpt from her story recounting her admission into foster care.
“…I remember being taken to the police station and being left alone for what seemed to be hours. They were trying to find a place for me to stay. I had nowhere to go..."
Minh, age 20Continue Reading
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