How to Help Foster Children Adjust
This article explains how you can help foster kids adjust
When a family provides a temporary home to foster children, it can prove to be a very uphill task or it can also turn out to be a very rewarding experience. The foster parents do many compromises and adjustments for the child itself to have a successful and healthy relationship. This article provides some tips on how a family can assist and aid a foster child to adjust in the new environment freely.
Read the complete article to learn more!
According to Dr. Moira Szilagyi, chair of the AAP Committee on Foster Care, Adoption and Kinship Care, an empathetic, loving, consistent and responsive foster parent capable of viewing the world from the child’s viewpoint is fundamental to helping a child adjust to the foster care home.
Adjusting Takes Time:
Foster care children may range from birth to 17 years old, and every child’s adjustment will be unique, so the adjustment will require different amounts of time for different children. “The child’s individual temperament is a major factor. The child’s prior experiences will also play a major role.
Children who have had multiple prior caregivers or had worse trauma experiences may require more time to develop trust,” said Dr. Szilagyi. She advises that, in general, foster parents should expect it to take six to eight weeks for children to settle in. However, some children will need more time and teens, especially those with complex trauma and loss histories, may take longer.
Easing Anxiety Through Simple Gestures:
Foster children likely feel lost, confused and even scared at first. So, one important goal is to ease anxiety for the child and make him feel more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. Shimabukuro says that it’s critical that the entire foster family is on board and supportive of the incoming child.
Help and Support:
Even the best prepared and most caring foster parents may still experience difficulties in helping a foster child to adjust. Remember, foster families do not have to go it alone! Dr. Szilagyi advises that most foster children would benefit from having a mental health evaluation and receiving services if only to have a safe place to go to talk with a caring but objective adult.
She also suggests that any child who has experienced sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, chronic neglect or multiple caregivers; witnessed significant violence; or who displays troubling behaviors should absolutely have a mental health evaluation by a trained, licensed pediatric mental health expert.
Author: Sherrie Coronas
The complete article can be accessed through the following link: