I don’t like to use the term “foster kid.” I try to say “kids in foster care” as much as I can. These children have many labels put on them which often can help them access the resources they need, but “foster kid” isn’t always a helpful label. These are normal kids who have experienced abnormal circumstances. Kids in foster care love to play and learn and be silly just like any other child.
Kids in foster care come from many different backgrounds. They come from all races, economic backgrounds, and religions. Children can come into foster care from birth until they’re 18, but the average age of a child entering foster care is 7 years old (about a 2nd grader). In 2015, 18% of children who entered foster care were under 1 year old. (Stats are from the 2016 AFCARS Report)
The years prior to removal are often very challenging years which can cause difficulties in many areas of a child’s life. When a child is removed from their home, their whole world is turned upside down. Everything they’ve ever known has changed, and it takes some time for them to adjust to what has happened. As awful as some of the situations are that some of these children come from, many of them would rather be back at home rather than in a foster family. In his book The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog (which is amazing), Dr. Bruce Perry quotes a family therapist saying that kids from hard places tend to prefer “the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty.” They would rather be at home where they know what to expect (even if it’s bad) than in an unfamiliar situation where they have no control.
When a child experiences a traumatic transition, such as removal from their biological family, it can cause significant regression in all areas of their life. Little ones who had been potty trained can go back to needing diapers. Kids who were straight A students can struggle to keep up in a new school. Children often lose several months of developmental and academic progress, and if they have to be moved multiple times, that can add up quickly.
Children who enter foster care can also suffer social and behavioral difficulties. Some of these children have had little to no interactions with peers. Constructive problem solving and respectful peer relationships may have never been modeled for them. This can cause troublesome interactions between kids in foster care and other children in the home or classroom. It can be easy see why ‘foster children’ get a bad reputation, but they are usually just modelling what they have seen or experienced. Once children know better, they usually do better.
Please call 864-938-2100 or complete the form below to begin your foster care journey or to ask how we can help you with foster care.