Our children in care range in age from the youngest
of infants to adolescents, and even young adulthood for youth
who are attending school. They come from many backgrounds,
religions, ethnicities and lifestyles. They may require foster
homes for a few days, weeks, or longer.
The reasons for a child requiring foster care
also vary, from parental illness to neglect and abuse or other
significant issues in parenting. While many children in care
have a minimum of special needs, the issues that led to the
child’s admission may have had an impact on the child’s
developmental well being, such as:
- Difficulties associated with loss of attachment
- Problems in relationship to their families
- Social and/or emotional issues
- Learning gaps, delays or challenges
- Medical or physical problems
The role of the foster family is to nurture
and care for these children in an environment that will promote
their adjustment and healing, and contribute to the development
of resiliency needed to face future life issues. As critical
members of the child’s care team, foster families work
together with other team members to provide nurturing, opportunities
to learn and grow, and experience healthy family living that
will prepare them for the future.
Most children in foster care eventually leave
care to return home. A very important part of fostering, therefore,
is to assist children in working through family relationship
issues, to deal with the loss that admission to care brought
about, and to help to build bridges to the child’s own
family so that return home will be successful and permanent.
Those children who cannot return home are also being prepared
for permanency, such as adoption or long term foster care,
where a child can grow up securely.
While fostering offers its challenges, they
are far outweighed by the rewards and riches of helping a
child to grow and thrive. During our mutual exploration and
selection process, applicant foster parents will have many
opportunities to learn more about fostering and speak to other
experienced foster parents in order to make a well-informed
decision about whether fostering is a good fit for their family.