The children and teens in our care come from many different backgrounds and family situations, and as a result may have suffered trauma through abuse, neglect and/or multiple separations.
Children and teens enter foster care for a variety of reasons, most of which are the result of their early life experiences or needing to be removed from their homes due to safety issues.
Children in our foster homes often have dealt with the following experiences:
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Exposure to domestic violence
- Parental substance abuse
- Parental incarceration
- Exposure to community violence
- Death of family members/caregivers
- Multiple separations from caregivers
Because of this, children and teens may develop unhealthy behaviors as a way to get their needs met. They aren’t bad or naughty – they learned to survive. In order to get their needs met, they may present with a variety of behaviors:
- Attachment issues
- Self harming behaviors
- Suicidal tendencies
- Cognitive limitations/delays
- Eating disorders
- Medical concerns
- Sexually inappropriate behavior
- Sleep issues/disturbances
- Property destruction
- Physical aggression
- Verbal aggression
- Runaway behaviors
- Cruelty to animals
- Fire setting
- Gang affiliation
- History of false allegations
Behavior is communication and it is our job to help them work through their trauma so they are able to develop healthy ways of coping and communicating. Most of our kids just need a caring, patient adult to form a supportive relationship with. These relationships are the building blocks to healing.
Kids in foster care may be up against a lot of negative stereotypes. The truth is, they are kids who have overcome a lot in their lives and need some support in order to reach their goals.
So, how do we help heal these kids? Through training in approaches such as trauma informed care and support from your social worker. To learn more, visit our resources page.