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What do former and current foster children want foster parents to know about being in foster care?I upvoted Joel’s answer because he nailed a couple of things and because of the difficulty in answering the question.Two of his points:“It's incredibly scary. I suffer from anxiety now because I never felt like I belonged to any place in society.”“Having to explain to people, all the time, often again and again and again, how you're related to your parents and why they don't look like you and how you fit into your family was a frustrating question and answer process which I had to deal with since my first day of primary school.”I WILL give a succinct answer to the question at the end of this long post, but I want to walk you (the original questioner) through some things first.It took me a while to acknowledge and understand my own anxiety. It makes me happy that Joel is aware of his.Even today, I am very, very careful and guarded in social situations though you wouldn’t know it as a stranger. It’s not that I am ashamed of my background - I’m not. I am actually quite proud of who I am and my experiences and what that means to me. I look at my life as an example of life’s fortunes, both good and bad, that I will pass on to my daughter and any other children, as well as telling them about my own stupid mistakes and how I sometimes wasted my own good fortune. That said, social settings are very stressful.In my opinion: Most of what a foster child experiences before aging out (age 18) isn’t understood or processed until later in life. You will have a lot of “oh, krap, that’s what that was,” and “oh, duh” moments as you slowly realize things that were said when you were a child and what they really meant.As a foster child I assumed that my story led others to assign certain credit to me for not being a complete wreck. What I slowly realized as an adult: people had no idea how to process my story. It was so far outside other people’s experiences that what I assumed was some social credit being assigned to me was actually more along the lines of “Wow. That’s f’d up kid, here’s a hall pass for you, please don’t talk about that anymore, it makes me sad. Just go right ahead and enjoy some cake and ice cream in the warm sun.”Let’s say you meet a child from Ethiopia, now living in the US with his mother and father, as refugees. And this 8 year old Ethiopian child is in your own child’s class at school. And he tells the class of how a snake killed his family’s cow and they had no other money and could not sell the now dead cow. And you’re thinking…?? “That’s f’d up?” “That’s not possible - who owns a cow?” “That’s a great story, let’s write a book?”Regardless of what you might think when you hear his story, you honestly can’t process it because it’s so far out of your experience that you just don’t know what to say or do. Except maybe, “Wow. That’s f’d up kid, here’s a hall pass for you, please don’t talk about that anymore, it makes me sad. Just go right ahead and enjoy some cake and ice cream in the warm sun.”And so to tell my story as a child and see that other people were somehow patting me on the back in some way made me think, hey, I’ve really done something by surviving this. But as an adult, I realized that no, I hadn’t done anything. I did not get extra credit, did not get to pass go, did not get $200.To come back to Joel’s point…. Here I am at (almost) 45 years old and when I go to a school function with my daughter and wife, the very, very, very last thing I want to ever be asked by some other parent at the beginning of the conversation is, “So where are you from?” Or, “Where did you grow up?” Or, “Where is your family from?”Yet, lacking any other things to talk about, or getting the OK signal from someone, I may very well ask those questions myself. Kind of messed up, huh?Basically, if another person asks me one of those questions, and prior to asking, the conversation indicates to me that he/she won’t be too curious about me, then I might engage in that line of questioning on a very superficial basis: “I am from here (Atlanta).” No other detail. “My family is from here, but my parents were born in ______.” No other detail. Etc. and then move the topic quickly away, perhaps to travel or something. Once I get to know someone and know that they are interested in friendship and NOT societal ranking, then I am more than happy to share a laugh and talk about me.Here is a real life example that happened a few years ago. And it will serve as a basis to the ultimate answer to the original question:When my wife was pregnant with our daughter, we were at her family’s annual Christmas thing. And a friend of one of my wife’s sibling’s was visiting with her own (immediate) family. Now, this visiting family is very nice and polite. And they are also very conservative and very “church going” and very “proper” in that sense. And so, this visiting family, all “white” and properly dressed, with three shiny kids running around, is doing the “proper thing” in a setting like this. Which is, the father is off talking to the “men” and the mother (a youth minister wife, all properly smiley and shiny) is doing what she considers proper in this setting: She is systematically making the rounds, starting with my wife’s grandmother, and proceeding by age to each of my wife’s family members, with the wonderful opening line of “so nice to meet you. So where are you from? And where is your family from?” No joke, it was like the first thing asked to each person. I guess for her, somehow, asking people she was not likely to meet again (or not meet again for a long time), it mattered to her to know personal details about other people’s family. You might consider that to be benign. But in reality, it is often used as societal ranking and judging.I had to get the heck out of that situation before I said something which would be considered very, very rude, when in fact, to me, her questioning was very, very rude.Perspective is interesting in this case because most people are truly puzzled that I would be offended by questions about family. Even my wife’s family finds this puzzling and has said so, that I shouldn’t be offended because it’s “just a question.” Said to me: “See, I don’t find that question (asking others about their family) offensive.” And I’m thinking, of course you don’t.I’m not ashamed of who I am. But I am damn sure aware of societal ranking. And I am damn sure aware that if the situation were slightly changed, let’s say this lady were interviewing me for a job and asking questions about family (yes, that does happen), then I would be screwed. Because while I might be a “nice” “average” “white” man with a college degree, when the interview gets down to the nitty gritty, there are always clues as to your background . And when those clues are made manifest, it always works against the former foster child, in much the same way it works against minorities, LGBT’s, etc. I’m not claiming the same level of bias, just trying to explain the anxiety and why those questions about family are so stressful. And I think this is why so many former foster’s give up in life. This kind of personal digging is never ending. If you can’t navigate it and know how to handle it every single time, you are going to have a very hard time socially and even economically. And even when you can navigate it, it is very, very, very taxing on your psyche.That kind of questioning puts me in a very awkward position. I either have to lie when I answer by vastly oversimplifying everything - claiming one group of people as family while denying another group, or I have to go into the explanation of things. And either way, I shouldn’t have to be on the spot in the first place.But in this case (the Christmas example), if I had decided not to answer, or been coy about it, then it would have only raised this lady’s curiosity. And I know from past experience that that would have only made her sink her teeth into my life and it would have been very uncomfortable. So, I asked my wife if we could go for a walk and we did. And then my stress caused my wife a whole lot of her own stress.There are a thousand little things to know and learn about being in foster care, both for the foster parent and the child. And some of those things can be put into words and made simple and some of those things can only be experienced. But the one big thing is that you are taking a child who is seen by the world to have no family and you are injecting them into a family. And so what do you think they are most stressed about? Family!!So here is your answer. If you have a foster child in your family, it’s your job to run interference - always - and every time you can. When you see someone starting to dial in on your foster child, or you hear the questions turn toward family, you have to make a call about intervening. If it’s another child asking, well, maybe your foster child has to navigate that, and you’ll learn if he or she can navigate it or not. If it’s another adult, you pretty much should politely intervene and move the questioner away physically, and redirect the conversation. The stress of having to answer questions about family is pretty darn high. Think of it like this: Imagine if every time an african american person walked into the room, someone eventually asked that person: “So, why are you black.” Asking a foster child “why or how” they came to be is along those same lines, they had no decision in being a foster child, nor the circumstance, just as we have no input on the color of our skin. So as a foster parent, your job is to mitigate that stress.I’ll come back to Joel here in closing, and say that it’s really good to hear that someone else came out with some positive experiences.My finally family was wonderful to me and anytime another adult started to get curious about me or my situation, my (foster) mother would very calmly find her way over and find a polite way to protect me even when I didn’t think I needed it. She might say, “I see you’ve met my son.” And then she might proceed to ask me if I would help her with something or do something for her in order to give me a way out if she felt I needed it. Conversation over, period. Ahem. Period! In other words - STFU - this is my son it’s none of your business and you can make what you want of that. “Now go enjoy some cake and ice cream in the warm sun lady, and leave my son alone.”
Adoption: How many children age out of the foster care program in the United States?As a general trend in US foster care 11% are emancipated out of the system each year. 51% are reunited with their families or primary caretakers, 14% live with another relative or guardian, and 21% are adopted.In 2010, that meant that 27,952 children in the US aged out of the system.Of the estimated 254,114 children who exited foster care during FY 2010, the median amount of time spent in care was 13.5 months, with:• 13 percent in care less than 1 month• 33 percent in care for 1 to 11 months• 24 percent in care for 12 to 23 months• 12 percent in care for 24 to 35 months• 10 percent in care for 3 to 4 years• 7 percent in care for 5 or more yearshttp://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs...
How many people do you think try to get their children out of foster care?When it gets to the point of having your child taken away from you, it becomes exactly all about them. I had my daughter taken away for a period of 6 months. I had a drug addiction from early age (almost 20 years begore i became a mom), with a lot of rehabs in between, but the day my daughter was taken away, was the day i really hit rock bottom. It was the day i had to make the decision on either to be selfish and take the “easy" way out: feel and act like a victim. Or, decide what i believed was the best for my daughter: to be with her mom. And for that to happen, her mom had to completely change her life, by starting to change herself.And I did.But i will never forget one other woman, that aproach me, outside the center where my child was beeing taken care of, asking how did i managed it. -" Manage what? …— How can you bring yourself here , everyday, visit your daughter for an hour (since day one, i used every single minute i was allowed to spend with my daughter-1 hour per day), how can you come and then leave her behind) How can you watch her stay behind? How can you bear that pain, and still come back the next day? And most of all, come back without having used??I was perplexed with the question. It was no longer about me. My pain was a result of my choices (conscious or unconscious ones). What about my daughter? How did she feel to go to bed every night with a kiss (if there was one) from a stranger? How did she feel, every day she saw her mom walking away leaving her behind?Till this day, i hurt when i think about it. When i try to imagine what her little innocent mind, her heart, told her as a answer to all those questions. I raised a Brave girl. If she could do it , so could I.Five years have past, and I thank the universe and myself, every single day, for having made the right choice. For having done the only possible thing I could do: to fully be a mom.
How do orphanages give abandoned children last names?For children in the US foster care system who are abandoned without any info, it’s Baby Boy/Girl or John/Jane Doe. That’s what happens with safe haven babies, where they get left somewhere, and the parents are unknown. I honestly don’t know how they decide on the first name since I’ve seen all of those (who decides on Baby Girl vs. Jane?).If the parents are known, and they leave the baby (like mom discharges from the hospital but doesn’t take baby), it’s Baby Boy/Girl Mom’sLastName.The baby legally keeps whichever name until they’re adopted, when they’re given a new name. It’s not uncommon for the families caring for the child to give them a name (because it makes people uncomfortable to say Baby Gender rather than a name). Although you aren’t supposed to call a kid another name until adoption, we tend to look the other way in this situation, especially if the family is adopting.
Should the United States dismantle the modern foster care system and revert to institutional care for at risk children?If it were possible to ask 100 foster care survivors, the answer would be much different than if you ask 100 pairs of foster parents or 100 DFCS social workers.It seems that every western country goes through periods of thinking that one way of care on a given subject is better than all others. So, before the modern foster care system, institutionalized care was pretty horrible. Foster care comes along and people think it’s better than what came before and it probably is better than what came before it.But times change.As I noted in my bio, and in the numerous answers I have posted on Quora, I have lived through seven homes, starting in 1976, through 1989.Other survivors younger than me post here as well. And you know what? I have yet to read ONE survivor who did not encounter a bad foster hone. Not one. So, is the price these kids are paying worth the proven bad outcomes?Now…A few common themes keep emerging here on Quora, propagated by well meaning, caring foster parents. The first of which is that things are better in foster care without a doubt 100%, etc, as you can see in the 4 answers to this specific question which were posted before me.The second theme you see here is the admission that the outcomes among foster kids at age 18 are - fricking, fracking, horrible. And they are.So, which is it?Is foster care 100% better than institutionalized care? Or do the data support the conclusion that foster care is not working?The truth is, for the first question - yes, depending on which time period you compare it to. And to the second question, yes, the data support the conclusion that foster care is not working as intended.As I have said before, I had a good final outcome - AFTER going through six homes over a 10 year period. I am grateful for the family that become my own and love them. My view is in no way a disparagement of them.But it’s hard to argue with measurable outcomes and those outcomes are pretty bad. I have more on that at this link About - Surviving Foster CareIt’s non sensical to argue that foster care is 100% better than what came before and to also, at the same time, admit the horrible outcomes.No, I don’t think that we should revert to an old way of doing things. I don’t think you completely sweep away something all at once. But I do think everything about the current system needs to be rethought and if in X years time, we can’t produce better outcomes, then yes, it might be time to sweep it away.I do think that a mix of care is called for. Some variation of orphanages and some variation of foster care and whole lot more assistance to all families in need, starting with universal / free / single payer health care (whatever you want to call it).You cannot fix the problems without addressing the needs on the front end and that starts with caring for all people in need before their lives are so bad that their children are forced into state care.I have said before - take the family, not the child. Fix the family.
How do you prepare to be a respite for foster care children?It is the same training and background checks as regular foster care. They will come to your home to assess what age and how many children can live at your home. The rules are the same for regular foster care as is for respite.I would prepare for the age you want to take, like a crib for children up to 2 yrs. Respite or emergency can run for different amounts of time. The placement adminstrator will let you know in advance.
How do you treat psychological issues for children in foster care?I was a foster carer along with my late partner in the UK. He was a full time carer while I had my practice. All of our children were aged 10 plus and had multiple placements prior to coming to us. Most had complex psychological problems. We had a family social worker and each child a dedicated one. We were part of a team which included, child psychologists, outsignNow workers, psychiatrists and parent liaison officers. We had regular case conferences and care plans for each child plus liaison with the police and probation services as required. This was a brilliant system which afforded the best possible care for our charges. Unfortunately due to cost cutting and various administrative/staffing problems the system has broken down and things are less than ideal and these children suffer.
Statistically, how many children are currently in foster care due to abuse or neglect?Hmm…do you mean in a specific area or in the world? This document had a breakdown for the U.S on percentages of children in foster care for various reasons like abuse or neglect.As far as in the world, that would probably be harder to say since foster care’s presence will differ depending on the country, etc. But maybe some of the organizations and resources listed here will help you research a bit further? Just FYI…
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People also ask
Can you take foster kids out of country?You might have a restriction on how far from home you are allowed to take a foster child; conversely, you might be able to take a child out of the country for a vacation. Even if you know that you are allowed to travel out-of-state in order to visit relatives, you'll have to inform the fostering agency of your plans.
Can you travel with your foster child?You should absolutely involve your foster child in your vacation plans whenever possible. The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (CPDP)'s Resource Family Handbook says, \u201cTaking children on family vacation and trips is strongly encouraged.
Can you go on vacation with a foster child?You should absolutely involve your foster child in your vacation plans whenever possible. The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (CPDP)'s Resource Family Handbook says, \u201cTaking children on family vacation and trips is strongly encouraged.
Can I take pictures of my foster child?As noted in the Resource Family Handbook, \u201cChildren in care cannot be photographed for newssignNow articles, Facebook or any publication where their identities would become known to the public.\u201d It is the policy of the Department of Children and Families (DCF) that you do not post any pictures of a child in care online.
Can you travel out of the country with a foster child?First things first, foster families are, in general, allowed to take children in their care on vacation with them. However, the permissions need for travel in-state, out-of-state and internationally vary. ... Foster families must take the child's placement agreement, medical consent form and medical card.