Supporting the Emotional Needs of Children in the Foster Care System

Children are highly impressionable and constantly adjust their perceptions of the world as they encounter new experiences. Understandably, children enrolled in the system require special attention to combat emotional and psychological issues which can reduce their quality of life. Children are typically removed from their residences due to some form of neglect or abuse by their birth parents or family members and stressful environments such as these can impact an individual’s sense of security, self-worth, and overall emotional health. In the event that birth parents remain candidates for guardianship, professionals within the system strive to intervene in the child’s life in hopes of reducing the long-term detrimental effects of trauma. Here are a few ways care agencies and caregivers can ensure the emotional needs of children in the system are met.

Training Qualifications

In order to make sure children in the system receive adequate care, caregivers are required to complete foster parent training in Michigan in order to receive their license. Foster parent training teaches individuals the information and skills pertinent to caring for children with special consideration given to topics such as abuse, substance use, and negligence. In addition to initial training prior to welcoming children into their temporary home, parents are required to pursue ongoing training as well to help them respond to mental and physical challenges which may arise once the child has transitioned into the home.

Trauma Rehabilitation Assessment

Due to the fact that some children are admitted into the system after experiencing trauma, attention should be given to youth to determine what level of emotional assistance is necessary to help them recover. As some agencies host refugee children in addition to youth from families living on national soil, a variety of treatment options must be available. Individuals in the system come from a myriad of racial, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds including war-stricken and impoverished nations. Treatment may be necessary to promote a successful integration into a temporary home or when receiving more permanent accommodations.

Encouraging Friendships

No matter the reason behind a child’s enrollment in the system, everyone suffers a degree of loss during periods of separation, transitions between different homes, or a permanent relocation with an adoptive family. A fantastic method for combating emotional troubles and insecurity is to create situations for relationships to form between the child and the temporary family with like-minded individuals with similar background stories or with other children in a youth group or school setting. While it will always be difficult to say goodbye, relationships built within the community can continue no matter which family a child is placed with and can have a long-lasting, positive impact on their wellbeing.

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