Article

Foster Care

Joan Shireman

in Social Work

ISBN: 9780195389678
Published online April 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0021
Foster Care

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There have always been children who need temporary care outside their own homes, and, in the United States, family foster homes are the way in which most of this care is delivered. Foster parents are families who, for pay, take children into their homes and care for them on a temporary basis. Most children who enter foster care have been abused or neglected and family support services have not been sufficient to keep them safe in their own homes. This early chronic stress and trauma mean that many foster children exhibit serious behavior problems and are in need of mental health services, as well as nurturing care and well-planned educational services. Outcomes of foster care are not as positive as might be hoped, in part due to failure to overcome these early experiences. Limited funding means that pay for foster parents is low, and resources to support fostering are limited. Because of a chronic shortage of foster homes, sometimes children are placed in foster homes that are unable to meet their needs and so are moved too often. A major policy issue is the disproportionate number of African American and Native American children placed in foster care. Placement in a foster home creates a major disruption in a child’s life; the trauma of separation from home and parents can have serious mental health consequences. These can be minimized through continuity in substitute care, visits with family, and careful planning that allows the child to move to a permanent home as soon as possible. The reunification of the child with his or her original family is the goal of most foster care. When this is not possible, a permanent home for the child is sought through adoption or, less often, guardianship.

Article.  12181 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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