An ideal environment for the social, emotional, and developmental growth of children does not always exist in today’s society. Family units that have become separated due to family or behavior problems often contribute to delays in these areas. In order to promote continuity in the social, emotional, and developmental growth of children who have been victims of family disruption, children are often removed from the home and placed in foster care. Placement in the foster care system affects children in a unique, individual fashion. The affects of child-care by non-parental custodians, though subjective in nature, have common parameters that must be addressed and examined.
Understanding foster care placement is crucial in order to fully evaluate both its advantages and disadvantages.
WHAT IS FOSTER CARE?
According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, “Foster care means 24-hour substitute care for all children placed away from their parents or guardians and for whom the State agency has placement and care responsibility.” Though this definition excludes children in privately funded foster care arrangements, placement in a facility not governed by a state agency is often sought for children. Placement with either a state agency or a privately funded program can either be short-term lasting several months, or extend for a period of years as in long-term placement. The duration of time spent in the foster care system is dependent upon the existing home environment and the ability of the caregivers in the home to provide a safe and nurturing environment for the child. An evaluation of both the present and pre-existing home environment is crucial in making the decision of whether to remove the child from foster care and reunite them with their parental custodians or to continue placement in the foster care system.
FOSTER CARE PLACEMENT
Though it is difficult to separate a child from his parental custodians, foster care placement is deemed necessary in situations of abuse or neglect. Severe behavioral problems on the part of the child as well as a variety of parental problems, including abandonment, illness (either physical or emotional), incarcerations, alcohol/substance abuse, and death, are also reasons deemed legitimate to warrant removal from the home.
A child, who has been sub...
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... has been victimized in his or her home environment. It can, however, with proper placement, provide a safe and nurturing environment that will encourage self-growth and self-achievement. The ultimate goal of foster care placement is reunification with the family. Plans must be implemented so that this goal can be achieved. The problems leading to foster care placement need to be rectified before a safe return home is possible. Failure to fully assess the situation will reap only negative results and problems may escalate. The welfare of the child must be the primary concern.
Berrier, Selena. “The Effects of Grief and Loss on Children in Foster Care.” Fostering
Perspectives. November 2007.
Conn, R. A. “Developmental Issues for Young Children in Foster Care.” Pediatrics.
5 November 2004.
Hueber, Ruth A. “The Effects of Foster Care on Children.” Child Welfare Research.
9 November 2005.
Marshner, Connie. “Reform the Nation’s Foster Care System.” Family Research Council.
10 January 2008.
Stewart, Gordon. “Safety and Stability for Foster Children: A Developmental
Perspective.” Journal of Pediatrics. February 2007.
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