How Does Being Fostered Impact A Child? A Short Guide For Foster Parents

foster parents with child
*Collaborative Post

When a child enters the care system, they have already been through a lot. This means if you are a foster parent, you have to be prepared to help them get better in more ways than one.

All foster children will need some level of special care and attention as the chances are that they are very scared and need support from a caring, nurturing adult. As the foster parent, it is your role to fulfilling.

Luckily, the foster system in the US is designed to work with you to help these vulnerable children get back on their feet, and in the following guide, you will be shown which areas will be focused on and how these will impact the child’s development.

Mental Health

Many children in the foster care system have mental health issues. Usually caused by stressors that children should not have to worry about. Such as whether or not their parents will fight that evening. Or whether or not there will be enough food for them.

Whether you are fostering in East Midlands or New York, the foster care system will help you to help them get the care that they need, which may be ongoing counseling or other types of therapy, which you can also support by giving them the space to talk.

Physical Health

Many children who have entered foster care have health issues. They are usually shorter than their peers, may be malnourished, and suffer from other signs of neglect. Such as tooth decay.

So, it is your responsibility to get them access to the physical health care that they need, such as a doctor, dentist, and opticians to help them to recover, while also ensuring that they eat a healthy diet and get enough exercise. If your foster child has drug addiction issues, social care systems will offer you specialized training to help you handle them effectively.

Emotional Health

A child who is in foster care is likely to have suffered from emotional abuse. Thus, they may lash out spontaneously, cry a lot, or even self-harm to cope with these difficult emotions.

This can be very distressing to witness, but the foster system will have worked with you to provide you with as much information as possible about the children so you will know how to soothe them. Hopefully, they will also help with access to mental health services to help your foster child verbalize their struggles in a more beneficial way.

Social Health

It would be foolish to assume that a child that has come from a home where they were abused will be able to function in the real world without help. In some cases, they may feel more comfortable around younger children, as these groups tend to be more inclusive. As their foster parent, you will need to help them prepare for age-appropriate activities, as well as seek help from support networks if they continue to show signs of social delays.

Moral Health

It is a difficult area to cover, but some foster children may swear, punch, kick or be abusive. This is a learned behavior that needs to be handled delicately, and it is where you can make a difference in a child’s moral compass. With the help of a psychologist or other expert, you can help them to learn more appropriate ways to show that they are angry, but you need to be patient as this is a learned behavior in almost 100% of cases.

Spiritual Health

Lastly, fostering a child’s spiritual health can be a great way to heal and nurture all the areas covered so far. From mental health to moral health, spirituality can help children gain a wider perspective to better address the challenges they face.

There are many different ways to teach about spirituality, and you can do so in a manner that will be easy for them to understand. For instance, look into fun tools that can help children engage in Bible study. Learning about the Bible can help you teach your foster child how to guard their heart against unhelpful emotions and dispositions while spending time and bonding with them. 

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