For children who have escaped the perils of war, violence, or persecution in search of freedom in the United States, the foster care system can be a true blessing. Unfortunately, refugee children are often separated from their parents and caregivers who may have helped them along the way, and lack access to basic resources and assistance to integrate into their new lives.
In addition to financial struggle, communication barriers, and lack of guidance, refugees have often experienced trauma and require therapeutic support to recover. The resources provided to refugee children in the foster care system in Michigan help them gain access to basic needs such as food and shelter, but also sanitation, healthcare, and education. The following are a few of the many advantages of the foster care system in Grand Rapids, Michigan for unaccompanied refugee children.
Access to Trauma Support
Refugee children who have endured the emotional and physical stress consistent with life in impoverished, violent, oppressive regimes have experienced distressing circumstances, deficiencies in nourishment, been surrounded by squalor and disease, been torn from loved ones, and have taken great pains to escape these conditions in search of a more stable life. In many cases, refugees are left incapable of self-sufficiency or successful immersion into society. These children are given the opportunity to be assessed by professionals who can develop a plan for therapy to help them rehabilitate following trauma and help them adjust to their new lifestyle without inhibition.
Placement Into Stable Environments
Unfortunately, children living in war-stricken or impoverished countries generally reside in unsanitary, structurally unstable accomodations surrounded by fear of violence. Often times, children have never had access to satisfactory shelter or structured daily life, and are unprepared to experience a life in which stability, opportunity, and freedom of choice can be expected. Social workers ensure this transition is straightforward so that children benefit from the assistance provided. In addition to therapy and forms of trauma support, refugee children are placed in foster homes with parents who are given specialized training. Children are offered a supportive environment in which they can experience family life, receive an education, have access to healthcare, and develop skills they need to become independent.
The Opportunity to Build a Better Life
Overall, the greatest gift of the foster care system to refugee children in Michigan is the assistance provided to ensure each individual has the tools and support they need to pursue the life they sought when they embarked on their journey away from their homes and families. Although these children have experienced trauma, they are given the chance to rise to heights they never believed possible in their home countries.