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Potential Struggles Faced By Children Who Grow Up In The Foster Care System

Children Who Grow Up In The Foster Care System

The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

The significance of our childhood experiences cannot be understated, as this is the most formative period of our lives. Thus, how we grow up and are treated during this time impacts us for the rest of our lives. Every child has a different upbringing, and while there’s no one right way to parent or be raised, there are basic needs that children have, such as a consistent feeling of safety, security, and belonging.

In traditional families, children form bonds with their caregivers starting from the time they’re born. These attachments provide the sense of security they need and allow them to develop in a healthy way both mentally and emotionally. However, kids in foster care may experience a disruption in this process, leading to a number of potential consequences.

Although many children grow up in the foster care system experiencing positivity and healthy attachments, this article will explore the other side of the system. Keep reading to learn more about some of the potential struggles a child might face when they’re raised in the foster care system.

Reasons Children Enter Foster Care

Children may end up in foster care due to divorce, death, abuse, neglect, or because a parent went to jail or is experiencing a mental health disorder like addiction. A judge decides whether the child needs to be removed and is also responsible for choosing when and if the child may be returned to their original family.

Struggles Faced By Foster Children

Some of the most common struggles faced by kids in the foster care system include:

  • Inconsistency: Children in the foster care system may bounce from home to home, having to get to know new people each time. This can make it difficult to form lasting, meaningful connections and lead to feelings of abandonment. In adulthood, these children may find it hard to trust other people and believe that something is wrong with them.
  • Insecure attachments: Kids have an innate need to form secure attachments with their parents or guardians. When this need goes unmet, it can have devastating consequences. Being separated from one’s family and not knowing where they’re going to end up next can create anxiety and cause children to struggle to trust other people.
  • Educational disruptions: Kids in the foster care system are often at a disadvantage when it comes to their education. Frequently moving from home to home often results in school changes, gaps in learning, and trouble forming and keeping friendships. The emotional toll of their circumstances can also affect their ability to concentrate and lead to poor academic performance.
  • Trauma: Kids in foster care may experience physical or sexual abuse, neglect, and domestic violence. These experiences can lead to the development of mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Trauma can often be addressed through therapy with a professional. Integrative therapy can be highly effective for those who have been in the foster care system, as it’s specifically designed to meet the unique needs of the individual. Learn more about integrative therapy by visiting this link: betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/some-of-the-benefits-of-integrative-therapy/
  • Instability: Children in foster care may experience a lack of stability in multiple areas of their lives. It can be challenging for them to participate in sports, meet with the same doctor or therapist, or get the extra academic support they need due to constantly moving homes. This instability can cause children to feel unsafe, and insecure, as well as affect their ability to feel a sense of control over their lives.

While the foster care system was created to provide safety and support for children in need, it often doesn’t give kids the stability and consistency they need to thrive. The challenges children face in the foster care system can lead to detrimental outcomes, including falling behind in school, having trouble forming healthy relationships with others, developing poor self-esteem, and struggling with mental health concerns. If the foster system is to improve, it’s crucial to be aware of its shortcomings and work toward addressing them. Every child should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, regardless of their background.

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