In 2020, 213,964 children under 18 entered foster care in the United States. Foster care can often be seen in a negative light as it is often a source of trauma for those that have to experience it. However, for some of the children that entered the foster care system, a foster home was a place of safety and healing. A good foster home can do a lot of good for both the child and the biological family.
Here are a couple of the benefits of foster care for children:
Foster care provides safe homes for children and teens while their biological parents find help, healing, and treatment. Children and teenagers that are removed from their homes are often removed because of abuse and neglect. One of the goals of foster care is that children and teens would able to find a place where they can feel safe and protected from abuse. Good foster homes can act as a sanctuary for children and teens in need.
It can be difficult to imagine foster care as a stable place. Being removed from one’s home may appear as anything but stable. However, foster care can offer a stable home environment for children that have experienced abuse or neglect.
Foster families can offer the stability of education, meals, a roof over their heads, and access to medical care. Before entering foster care, a child may not have had access to these necessities which can cause instability in one’s environment and one’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Foster care can also offer biological parents the ability to work towards creating a stable home environment for their children to come home to.
Nurturing and Loving Environment
In addition to simply having safety and the stability of a home, children in foster care have the opportunity to experience a nurturing and loving environment. In a positive foster home, a child may have the opportunity to witness parents that show affection and model conflict resolution when they may have only been exposed to abusive behaviors and cycles. A foster child can have exposure to a healthy family dynamic that can leave a lasting imprint for years to come.
A foster home may give children and youth opportunities that they may have never had before. Foster care may even be the very thing that introduces a child to the love of Jesus. Whether the home is a safe place for just a while or forever, it may be a place where a child experiences life-changing love.
An Opportunity to End Negative Cycles
When a child enters foster care, their biological parents are given the opportunity to find treatment and healing from their own struggles. Whether the parent needs to find treatment for drug abuse, serve a sentence, heal from abuse, or create a stable home environment for their child, the biological parent has the opportunity to grow and heal while their child is taken care of.
The social workers from the Division of Family and Children Services that work with children in foster care often have specialized training to help them work with children and families that have experienced trauma. The foster parent may also have training working with children coming into their home due to trauma. Being surrounded by people trained to support them and having access to mental health resources can also give foster youth and children the ability to heal.
The goal of foster care is reunification. Foster care gives both family members and the foster child a chance to receive the help that they need, as well as a chance to end the cycle of abuse and neglect. Sometimes, the children are able to return to their biological parents after they’ve created a healthier environment for their children. Other times children are freed for adoption and able to find safe and nurturing forever homes. And then there are those who grow into young adults and age out of the system, a process often referred to as “aging out” of the system.
The foster care system can do a lot of good and can offer a lot of children safe, stable homes. However, foster care is not perfect, and trauma can not be so easily erased. Children grow into young adults, and they find themselves leaving the foster care system and entering adulthood without a family or a support system to call on when they need advice, support, or encouragement.
As foster care ends and a child ages out, Connections Homes is passionate about stepping in and providing support, stability, and love while helping former foster youth continue to break the cycles of neglect and abuse. Connections Homes matches mentors with young adults in need of a stable relationship. If you know of a youth in the state of Georgia, Texas, or Virginia in need of a stable connection or you want to volunteer to be a mentor, learn more today!