Research Round 4 - How Does The Foster Care System Affect Children Placed In It?

Hey everyone, 

My inquiry question is How does the foster care system affect children placed within it? On my research round 3 post, I said this would be my metamorphosis, but it turns out I get one more research round which is great because previously I looked into physical and mental effects. Which means it's only fitting to research the emotional effect of the foster care system and what happens to children who age out of the system.


Emotional Effects 

Before I can dive into the emotional effects the foster care has on children, I first need to explain the difference between mental and emotional effects. 

Mental VS Emotional 

Mental health issues are all related to cognitive thinking and being able to processing information and is the overall issue but your emotional health is connected since it is most likely apart of the mental health. Meaning emotional health is based off of feelings such as being overly upset or sad which can lead to depression which is a mental health issue because it's when people can't mentally function. Although, mental disorders are more common, emotional disorders are just as important because if you can prevent or stop them at this early stage hopefully it won't develop into something worse. (1) 

Image result for mental vs emotional;

Emotional Disorders

For this part of the research, I'm going to take a different approach by summarizing 2 different stories and experiences children went through that caused their emotional issues. As I was researching emotional disorders I noticed they are very similar to mental disorders and very specialized towards each child due to their traumatic events. 

Foster children are faced with many different challenges that we don't ever see in our lives like lack of treatment, love and their basic needs. All these essential parts of their lives are missing and replaced with traumatic experiences which results in them developing different disorders. 

Adam - Adam who is now a sexual offender, was sexually abused by his stepfather between the ages 8-16; however, the issue was acknowledged too late because Adam was emotionally scared. During his time in the system, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and perhaps PTSD due to his repeated nightmares. Although he did attend treatment for being a sexual offender and received medication for his disorders, Adam wasn't benefiting because after he aged out of foster care, he stopped his treatment. Helpless and in the world alone, Adam who is now older than 18 can not receive the help he needs because anyone who was involved with him before is unable too due to his age. (2)

Tony - Since the age of 6, Tony has been followed up by protective services due to neglect allegations towards his mother and his father's abusiveness. A year later, 7 year old Tony's aggressive and destructive behaviour, lead him to be placed into short term care for an assessment. Throughout the assessment he showed suicidal thoughts, extreme aggression and destruction of property that potentially could have escalated to self harm which lead Tony to hospitalization. After medication and being placed in a safe environment, Tony's behaviour continued and he was entered into the system. (2) Although the system didn't directly cause Tony's behavioural issues, they certainly didn't help him during his time of need. 


 What happens to children who age out of the system?

 

When a child "ages out" of foster care it means they have reached the maximum age that the foster care system will still provide for them. Generally the age is 18 when you have graduated from high school, but it also means throughout your time in the system, you sadly were not adopted or able to return to your biological parents. On rare occasions, there are situations where some foster children are allowed to stay in the system for longer, but most children rather have freedom, however it could lead to homelessness. (3)

Image result for aging out of the system

As I mentioned above, many teens do not want to stay in the system any longer so they find a new home whether that is with a friend or in a homeless shelter. There are many different organization and resources that are available in the lower main land if you are in need such as the Burnaby Youth hub or even the Kids Help phone line could always give much needed advice. (4) However there are many other issues besides shelter when leaving a foster care home. If the child built a strong relationship with the foster parents, the emotional bond will most likely be broken and the child's only support system is cut off which would leave them in an emotional state. (5)

 

Sadly the statistics are not on the foster care children's side since after they age out of the system only 3-4% attend and receive a degree from a college and 1 in 5 will become homeless due to lack of funding. (6) 
 

Citations

1. https://www.pasadenavilla.com/...we-treat/depression/

2. http://www.psychiatrictimes.co...nd-concerns/page/0/1

3. https://www.liveabout.com/what...g-out-adoption-27071

4. http://cameray.ca/resources/

5. https://www.socialworktoday.co...hive/031912p12.shtml

6. http://www.sharedjustice.org/m...e-18-and-on-your-own

 

Thank you everyone for reading my final research round of this cycle and any comments below are very appreciated. 

Original Post

Hey Lauren!

Great job on your fourth round! I'm glad that the opportunity to post an extra round worked in your favour. Once again, I'm very impressed by the quality of your research and how pertinent all your information is. I think you've been very consistent throughout this cycle which is something to be proud of. 

Regarding your research in this round, I was extremely shocked to read how low the percentage of children of foster care go on to post-secondary education. If it interests you, it may be interesting to look into the specifics of this statistic (what goes on in foster care that deters students to participate in post-secondary education?). 

Great job! I look forward to your metamorphosis! 

Hi Lauren, great job on this research round! I like how you explained the difference between mental and emotional and how they are not the same though similar. It’s sad that many foster care system children develop problems and aren’t helped much. Many people already face mental illness and so this being one of the reasons why people face mental illnesses is really sad because it could be avoided if there was better help.  

Overall, great job on your research this cycle! 

Hi Lauren,

Great research! I like how you clarified the differences and the relationship between mental health issues and emotional health issues, as that really cleared things up for me. I think it's awful how horribly children are treated sometimes, and it can really have a negative impact on the child's mental and/or emotional health and their behaviour. I think it's also really sad that they are expected to be able look after themselves right away as soon as they turn eighteen. In my opinion, there should be a sort of transition phase in between if the child so wants it, so that they aren't just let out into the world without any sort of help to guide them.

You've done a good job this cycle, and I look forward to reading your metamorphosis!

Hi Lauren,

This is a really great post. I liked how you organized it, it was easy to read and understand and your research was very clear. I have recognized that there was a difference between mental and emotional health, but I have never identified what that difference was. I found it very interesting how you explained that mental health is broader than emotional health, but your emotional health affects your mental health and that they are interconnected. I also really enjoyed that you included stories that exhibited what you were explaining. They were a great addition to your post and helped give me a glimpse into the emotional and mental effects that the foster care system can have on children. It is so unfortunate that after children in the foster care system turn 18, they no longer have any support system that they can rely on. I know you are beginning to wrap up your research, but if you need something else to focus on it may be interesting to find out how emotional, physical and mental health of children in the foster care system are all connected. 

This was a great post! I can't wait to see what you do next!

Etta

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