5 Things We Can Do to Make the Lives of Foster Children Better
Don't they deserve the same respect that we receive?
How does a child end up in the foster system? Children who are neglected by their biological parents or have parents that are incapable of raising them end up in the foster system.
We all might know the problems that go on in the foster system, many children aren't treated well by their foster parents. We've read all about it and watched videos on it, but have we ever spoken to someone who's gone through the foster system and has experienced the horrors that we've only read about online?
A few weeks ago, I came in contact with a former foster child, who would like to remain anonymous. He shared his experiences in the foster system and gave me some insight into what really goes on behind the scenes in the foster care. He has been in and out of foster homes for years, but that hasn't stopped him from pursuing his passion for photography. He is now a well-known photographer in the modeling industry in Los Angeles, California. Even though he had a rough life as a foster child, it didn't stop him from pursuing his dreams and following his passion.
Although he didn't have much, he started his photography career with a lot of hard work. He wasn't adopted by the age of 18, which is why he struggled to start a photography business.
So how can we help foster children have a much easier life from the beginning? We aren't the government, and we can't enforce laws, but we can still fight for what's right and hope that our voices are heard by the correct people. There's no harm in trying.
“If you can help a child, you don’t have to spend years repairing an adult.”— Anonymous
5 Measures That We Can Take to Ensure the Happiness of Foster Children
In about 5 short paragraphs, I will suggest ideas that residents in the US can take to make sure a safe and happy environment for foster children to grow up in. All the points below may not be applicable to the residents but will instead have to be enforced by the government, those points will be self-understood.
Ninety percent of siblings that enter into the foster system get separated from each other because some foster families or group homes can't accommodate all the siblings. Sometimes they might just want one child or two, thus separating siblings from each other. There was a study conducted to see the effects of separating siblings from each other when there is no one else they can rely upon, by the N.C Division of Social Services. The results stated that these children usually suffer from trauma, anger and an extreme sense of loss.
So, what can we do? As a large community that recognizes the importance of a family, we can't change every foster care to adapt to something like this. We can convince the government to adopt new laws stating that siblings should stay with each other, but as a community we should encourage foster parents to either foster both the siblings or none of them, keeping at least one family bond intact.
Fostering a child has its perks. Foster parents get paid a large sum of money to foster a child. They are paid for providing shelter, for medical services, health benefits, recreational activities or as reimbursements.
- Fostering children in the age group of 0-5 years is 575 USD, per month.
- Fostering children in the age group of 6-12 years is 655 USD, per month.
- Fostering children in the age group of 13-20 years is 741 USD, per month.
(Taken From https://crazedparent.com/how-much-do-foster-parents-get-paid/)
There have been cases and it has also happened with my client, where foster parents actually used that money for their benefit and not for the foster child as they were meant to. So to fix such a problem, there should be a strong system of tracking where the money is spent. In this system, foster parents would be required to present their bills, they would have to prove where they've spent the money, how much they've spent in total and the remaining amount left. All of it should sum up to the amount given in the beginning of the month. In this way, there will be less misuse of the money given for the welfare of the foster children.
3. Parenting Lessons
Being a foster parent requires a lot of effort. But what is most important about being a foster parent is to firstly, understand the psychology of a child. If an adult doesn't know how to take care of a child, doesn't like children, is just fostering for the money or for whatever other reason that is harmful to the child, then they are definitely not ready to foster or take care of someone who requires love and attention. If the adult has a sketchy record, criminal offenses or charges, then how do foster cares just give away children to such people without taking into the account the fact that these children might just grow up to be a criminal eventually. Why don't the foster cares understand that the children might be abused by their foster parents?
So, in order to prevent these children from ending up with the wrong people, when a couple comes into the foster care, seeking to foster a child, their financial, medical, criminal and social records must be checked before following through with the fostering procedures, this increases the security of the child because they won't end up going with the wrong person who won't be able to take care of them efficiently.
4. Support for Teenagers Once They are 18
As mentioned previously in my introduction, once a child turns 18 years old, he/she is legally classified as an adult and thus is immediately removed from the foster system if not adopted by then. The issue then is that these children, because they haven't been exposed to how the world functions with the financial issues, housing, jobs, etc, they have no clue where to begin. They have no money to start off anything. It's like letting a 6-year-old child out in the open with no supervision, no advice and asking them to fend for themselves. Highly impossible.
We can help these children out by giving them a small sum of money that they can start off with, to invest in some company or buy a house for themselves. They can use the money to support themselves until the time they find a stable job. In this way, there is a decrease in the amount of unemployed and homeless people, helping the Economy and the Social Impact on the country in general.
5. Generally Helping Out
Finally, anyone and everyone can do this. If you ever see someone belittling a foster child for whatever reason, calling that person uncouth names, using abusive language, emotionally hurting that person or physically assaulting them, then it should be your responsibility to stop this in whatever way possible. This not only prevents foster children from going through depression but also maintains the peace in our area.
Hopefully, this article at least brought out some new ideas on how we can make the lives of foster children better.
"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." - Confucius
With this guiding quote, we can motivate ourselves and our peers to take a stand for what is right, no matter how hard it is to achieve.
If you have any suggestions or comments on this article, then you can contact me on my email; firstname.lastname@example.org