They say that every human being has a story. The same could be said for every foster child and foster family. Some children come into foster care after experiencing some kind of trauma or crisis, and some just need a helping hand through difficult circumstances.
Some Kids Live with a Parent Struggling with Addiction
Life can get tough for a lot of people, including parents and caregivers. Some struggle with a form of addiction that takes over their lives and prevents them from being able to be responsible for their children. When that point is reached, it may be time for those kids to receive help in the form of foster care.
If a biological parent can benefit from going to rehab and can maintain sobriety, they may have a good chance of being reunited with their kids. Each case is individual, and there’s no cut and dry solution for every situation. The one common denominator, though, is acting in the child’s best interests.
Economic Hardship Plays a Role
During these uncertain times, joblessness and homelessness have become many families’ unfortunate reality. It can be a daily struggle just to make ends meet and keep everyone clothed, fed and with a roof over their heads.
When living paycheck to paycheck, if circumstances abruptly change, the clock starts ticking. Loss of income means an already impoverished family cannot afford to pay for rent, food, or other necessities. Children in these households are particularly vulnerable, which is why foster care is so desperately needed.
Domestic Abuse in the Home
Children can also be caught in the crossfire of domestic abuse or suffer abuse themselves. Whatever the reason, a child’s physical and mental well-being is paramount. In such situations, instead of going to a temporary shelter, children can come into foster care and a safe environment. This gives kids stability and the chance to decompress while their biological parents or relatives receive the help they need.
Emergency Foster Care
In some difficult cases, foster parents will be called upon to provide emergency care and shelter to children in crisis. The length of their stay could be for a few days, a month or longer, depending on individual factors. In some cases, a biological relative may step forward to provide for these children in the longer term. However, the importance of available emergency foster care for these kids cannot be overstated.
Short to Long Term Foster Care
Whatever the reason a child comes into foster care, it can take time to sort out challenging circumstances. There are economic, domestic, and legal issues to address. Children with special needs might need specific kinds of medical care or mental health support. Therefore, there is no set time limit for how long a child may need to be in foster care.
Some kids may be able to return to their family of origin within a few weeks, months, or even a year or more. The determining factors will always be the child’s ultimate physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Foster to Adopt
In some cases, a foster child becomes a cherished family member and steps are taken to officially adopt that child. Usually, these are children who have been with their foster family for some time and have integrated within the family unit, even with families with biological children.
Some foster parents begin their foster care journey with the wish to expand their family after trying other methods, such as traditional adoption. Becoming a foster parent allows both the child and family members to get to know one another over time, in a safe, supported, and loving environment. In these situations, the happy ending makes all the hardships and challenges worth the effort.