A Guide For Foster Parents
It takes an incredibly special person or people to consider becoming foster parents.
At the present time in the UK, it is estimated that 70,000 children are in the foster care system, with around 30,000 coming into care over 12 months. There are still a lot of children who need nurturing and caring homes, especially as most of them will undoubtedly suffer from mental health issues.
If you are interested in fostering a child, you will need to be prepared for issues relating to their mental health, and in this guide, you will briefly be introduced to the most prevalent mental health issues found amongst children in foster care.
A child in foster care is going to have been through a lot, which may or may not be disclosed to you. However, one of the most prevalent mental health issues these children present with is anxiety.
This can be mitigated with therapy. However, you can also help to ease their concerns by engaging with them and allowing them to verbalize what they are feeling or even practice mindfulness and meditation with them; if you need some tips, head over to thefca.co.uk for more guidance.
As many as 80% of children in foster care have depression. Much like anxiety, this can be helped with therapy. But always aim to practice patience with children who have depression. They may need prompting to bathe, manage their hygiene, and dress. They may also have issues with eating food regularly. Try to offer them the space to talk once again, as this can help them bond with you.
PTSD and Complex PTSD
These two ailments are sadly very common in children who have come from abusive homes and can result in them suffering from flashbacks, emotional outbursts, nightmares, and disassociation.
PTSD and complex PTSD require very specialized help, such as EMDR therapy or hypnotherapy. You can help by ensuring your child that they are safe and learning as much as you can about these two serious conditions and how to treat them.
It is not unusual for children who find themselves in foster care to have obsessive behaviors. Such as picking at their skin, pulling their own hair, or even hoarding. This can be helped with therapy and with you offering them distractions, as they may subconsciously be self-harming to self-soothe. If you need help, talk to your doctor about management.
Addictions in any age group require medical intervention. Depending on the level, this may mean that your foster child may need to take medication. Try not to be judgemental if your foster child is addicted to a substance; aim to offer them support to get better as and where you can.
Many foster children have issues with powerful emotions like anger. Ergo, this can lead them not to vocalize how they feel, which can lead to disruptive behaviors at home or in the classroom.
Aim to work with their school and mental health workers to set up a plan. So, they can help your foster child stay in education while also aiming to help them recover or manage these problems.