6 May 2011
Foster Care: The Bad the Good and the Solution
The father is an alcoholic, the mother is perfectly fine and the child shows no signs of abuse, neglect or foul treatment; however Dad came to school intoxicated one day, now as a social worker you have to get involved and decide what to do. RRRemoving the child from the home has to be the best idea right? The home is unsafe and the child is in danger t the best idea must be foster care. However did you consider the effect that would have on that young child? Did you perhaps consider that yes, one parent is a mess b b ut the rest of the house is perfectly fine and that child loves their home life? Now some people might argue that one parent being a mess is enough reason, but I am not convinced. In some situations foster care is an absolute must, but in some cases foster care is not and it can ultimately destroy a child and families’ life. As a social worker you have to go into the home and determine whether or not it is a safe environment for the child. However, what qualifies as unsafe and what constitutes the decision to place a young one into foster care? And once that decision has been made, how do you continue your role while they are in the care of strangers? Do you observe their behavior, their adjustment or are they placed there and left until further notice?
Foster care is majorly negative on a young child’s being. It greatly affects their social, emotional and behavioral self. The changes and separation cause imbalance and a sense of being unwanted. In the eyes of you and the system in which you work, foster care is supposed to solve the negative things in a child’s life. It is designed to move them from negative environments, from abusive homes and places that just are not safe until their family can either fix their situation or until they lose their parental rights and the child remains in foster care or gets adopted. In your eyes, it is problem solved until further notice, but more problems than solutions tend to arise for that child while in foster care, especially if they do not fully understand the situation. Foster care should be the last resort, especially foster care with strangers and especially if the child is young and can’t completely comprehend. As the last resort it eliminates the turmoil on that child. Many children in foster care experience many different moves and placements. In Perry’s “Understanding Social Network Disruption: The Case of Youth in Foster Care”, she calls these constant movements a disruption in the child’s life. All of the placements in turn cause strains on relationships and even severs many old ties. Bonds with their past, including biological family is important. The inconsistency wears down these bonds and affects the social part of a child’s life. They lose important friendships and relationships, and the loss of these ties can result in them acting out, becoming hard for the newer foster parents to deal with and could in the end result in another placement. This in turn adds to the cycle of breaking ties and upsetting that child even further. Moving from place to place, acting out more and more causing a never ending cycle unless some type of intervention is made. The other issue associated with placements of children and the loss of ties and relationships is the fact that many siblings are never placed together. Maybe it’s because foster families could not take them all in, but another family that could should have been looked for. Sibling relationships are as important as parent-child relationships. Siblings are the ones you tell your secrets to and playfully fight with, the ones you go to when you do not have anyone else; they protect you and look after you. When siblings are separated, they lose their support system and they lose their sense of protection. When they are placed away from each other they lose contact and they lose that sibling bond. In “The...
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