Most people grow up knowing that their families love them, that they are well cared for. Some children may go through a divorce at a young age, or an older age, and some never go through it at all. Some children grow up with only one parent, but no matter what circumstance these children grow up under, for the most part they are with their families. What happens to the children who do not grow up with their families, the ones that are taken from their parents? Some are lucky enough to be adopted but others are not so lucky. The other children grow up in the foster care system. These children grow up with a foster family, sometimes it is a good experience and sometimes it is not. Many people who become foster parents are “save the world” types. They want to help the children who are not able to live with their biological parents. But there is a problem with the number of people willing to become foster parents. There are more foster children than foster families. The recruitment of foster families is not working as well as it needs to and therefore the government needs to spend the money to advertise what foster care does for the children and how the system works.
Granted, everyone has a reason for not becoming a foster parent. They might not have the time or the money. They might not have the patience or experience to take care of foster children. Adoption sounds like a better option to the public because of the positive view on adoption, but adoption is not always an option. The other option is providing a temporary home for a child who is in need. Children are placed in foster care when their biological families cannot take care of them anymore. It might be because the parents do not make enough money to support their children, or it might be because of some form of abuse. Parents who suffer from drug abuse or alcohol abuse often do not have time for their children; some are even abusive. A number of children are placed in foster care because of homelessness, mental illness, incarceration, or disease (Children Families and Foster Care: Issues and Ideas 1). These situations are not beneficial to the child, so they are placed in foster care. Foster care is the full-time care of a child outside their own homes by someone other than the child’s biological parents. The ultimate goal for the caseworkers is to reunite the children with their biological parents. The parents need to meet certain requirements before their children can live with them again. For at least half of the children, foster care is temporary. Of those children, just over fifty percent leave foster care within six months. Of the half who lives in foster care for a short time, a quarter of them are in care for at least two years. Many children never live with their original parents again (Davies 15).
For some children, they get bounced around from home to home. Their possessions are moved around in trash bags, making foster care really seem temporary (Children, Families, and Foster Care: Issues and Ideas 1). Many of the children test the new foster parents to see what they will do if the child misbehaves. If the foster parent sits down with the child and explains why they shouldn’t act that way or at least try to communicate, the foster parent passes the test. If they request the child be placed elsewhere, they have failed the test. This causes distrust of adults especially for the children who have been placed in many homes (Davies 41). Dennis Smith from California was in sixteen foster homes by the age of seventeen. He said, “It’s like a scar on your brain; every time something bad happens, you wonder if you’re going to another home” (42).
Foster parents must be willing to take care of these children and give them love and support. A manual for foster parent training said, “Foster parents are not selected because they have chosen to make a lifetime commitment to a child, but rather because they have chosen to...