Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What is a Foster Child?

So in light of two recent posts I made about 10 pieces of advise to give to foster parents, and then 10 more things a foster parent should know,  someone asked me, "What is a Foster Child?"

So I thought I would write a post to the effect of educating people what a foster child is.

According to the legal dictionary online, they describe being a foster child in this manner:

foster child
"n. a child without parental support and protection, placed with a person or family to be cared for, usually by local welfare services or by court order. The foster parent(s) do not have custody, nor is there an adoption, but they are expected to treat the foster child as they would their own in regard to food, housing, clothing and education. Most foster parents are paid by the local government or a state agency.
Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved."

Now, this is a little too broadly and simply put. 
There is so much more that goes into it. What gets me is that foster parents aren't paid as work-- what they should clarify is that the money given to foster parents, is supposed to be used on the child. Ie: clothes, food, extra activities, and the like. 
So don't think that you go into being a foster parent to make money-- it's not like that at all and people who try to do it for those reasons hurt the children the most and give the system a bad name. 
When you ask why a foster child is it is much more than the definition above.

People go into foster care for many different reasons and I couldn't even begin to list them all here even if I wanted to. The reason for that being is because there are so many reasons and so many different unique situations that get factored into why a child is removed in the first place and why they're placed in care.

Some kids spend a couple weeks to a couple months and foster care and some spend their entire childhood in Foster Care. I was the latter of the two. I spent my entire childhood in foster care.

So I've seen kids going for different reasons because I have bounced from home to home myself.

For some kids, it's just a matter of a parent needing to get their stuff in order to be able to be a better parent. This includes but it's not limited to basic inability to care for their child or it could mean more of a serious issue like drugs are severe alcoholism or anything that impairs the ability of a person to be a parent. And even more severe and more directly affecting to the kids is if that child is experiencing abuse that would constitute a reason for being removed from their home because their health both mental and physical are in jeopardy.

The interesting thing is there's a lot of talk going around about corruption both inside and without the system so we know that obviously, the foster care system is not perfect. Even though its intentions are sometimes kids will inevitably fall through the cracks both in terms of being removed from a home but also in terms of the care they receive while they're in foster care.


Sadly, I have to say that I did experience falling through the cracks while in foster care and it was mainly due to the fact that they were overwhelmed and they thought I could handle it better than other kids so I was not given the same level of attention. Which even if it is correct, which it was given a number of kids in the system and their situations, it still means that there are children that are forgotten.

However foster care can be a good point of a learning experience both good and bad for these children who experienced both the goods and the bads in the foster care system.

I have personally seen and experienced both.

So I guess to answer the question, in short, is that foster children come from all walks of life and their experiences are very unique but unifying. They all experience hardships that result in their parents being unable to care for them so they alternatively either get court-ordered to go to other family members or they get put into the foster care system itself.

The foster care system itself is run by the state with a sole purpose of trying to make sure that kids say alive and well and healthy. The foster care system is nationwide but is run a little bit differently based on the state that you're in and based on the county that you're in.

I have talked to other people who are put in the foster care system in other places in the world where they run it a lot like the United States does as well. So this idea of orphanages and Foster Care Systems are not unique to the United States.

In fact using the term orphanage may actually be more relatable to a lot of people because that is something or a term that has been used for a really long period of time to denote a child who has been left by their parents or is no longer able to care for them. In fact, it even existed, likely well before the United States came into being.

So in talking about Foster the People series, we are talking about people who have had experience either being an orphan or a foster child or a refugee or they were adopted. They share a unique set of experiences that those who are up in a family setting don't necessarily have.

I highly encourage that you participate in the series - you can sign up here- if you are a foster child an orphan or one of the court or Refugee from anywhere in the world.

I also encourage for those who didn't experience those hardships that you just stay engaged, read and learn.

With love and peace!

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