May Is Foster Care Month

foster care trauma

At any given time, there are hundreds of thousands of children in the U.S. foster care system. Unfortunately, many kids and adolescents spend years as fosters, bouncing among homes and schools and feeling like they do not belong anywhere. Combined with the ordeal of leaving their families, this inconsistency can have long-term adverse effects such as trauma, depression and addiction.

Foster Care Statistics

There are multiple grounds for judges or social services representatives to remove children from their biological families and place them in foster care. While each case is unique, the paramount deciding factor is the child’s welfare and safety. For example, maltreatment like abuse, neglect and abandonment are among the top reasons a child might enter foster care.

Once in the foster care system, children consistently face challenges that threaten their access to fundamental necessities like housing, education and health care. Young women in foster care are especially vulnerable to problems such as a lack of reproductive health care and a higher risk of sexual and domestic violence.

Foster kids growing up without permanent families lack the stability and routine that are so essential in early life. As a result, they may encounter many setbacks and adversities. For example, only about half of children who grow up in foster care finish high school, and a fraction of those go on to earn a four-year college degree. Many kids who age out of the foster system without a place to live end up unhoused. Still others go to prison or take their lives.

Foster Care Trauma

Members of minority groups like LGBTQ+ teens, Native Americans and Black children are significantly overrepresented in the foster care system. Though evidence suggests culturally appropriate support can empower children and young adults to make informed decisions about their care, these resources are scarce.  

Meaningfully addressing the specific mental health needs of foster children requires a holistic approach that focuses on their well-being at home, school and within their communities. For example, maintaining relationships with at least some of their blood relatives can help kids maintain a sense of family and identity. Children who do not have this support can quickly slip through the cracks and become victims.

Often, well-meaning adults assume all foster care children have behavioral health problems that cause issues like delinquency or truancy. However, given everything we know about the gaps in our foster care system, it’s more likely that the experience of being a foster child is traumatic enough to lead children to act out.

Offering Evidence-Based Treatment for Complex Trauma

Many adults who have aged out of the foster care system have significant emotional difficulties, including trust issues, attachment problems and low self-esteem. A sincere desire to help women heal informs all facets of the care we provide at Rising Roads Recovery. We provide a safe, supportive single-gender environment that inspires women to grow and overcome their challenges.

To learn more about our treatment philosophy, the benefits of women’s-only treatment, our advanced approach to trauma-informed care and the other in-depth mental health services we offer, please reach out to speak to one of our understanding, knowledgeable team members.

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