Foster care is the care given to children facing various problems and risks in their biological homes. Such problems are attributed to neglect and abuse within the biological family. Repeatedly, biological parents neglect children with mental and physical disabilities, and for that reason, the children opt to stay away from their homes. Many cases are associated with poor parental care and family financial crises, which necessitate the adoption of these children by foster caregivers (Pecora, 2010). Foster care places a child in an ideal environment similar to a family set up under the supervision of relatives, well-wishers, government institutions, and strangers. In addition, foster care is different from parental care since the child will experience different biological developments in adulthood.
The adolescent stage is very crucial in a child’s life, which demands proper parental care. A child subjected to foster care must adjust to the different setup, which could be unfavorable sometimes to the child. Therefore, a child could experience total solitude that could trigger one to engage in risky behaviors such as immorality, substance use, and crime (Goodyer, 2011). Many children under foster care experience poor cognitive and social development in their lives, as their foster parents may not have close supervision over them. Such negligence will deter the child’s growth and development especially during and after the adolescent stage. It is important for a foster parent to provide all the necessary needs.
At the adolescent stage, different behavioral changes are also experienced when a child faces difficulties due to self-expression as compared to other children under biological parental care. If these issues are not corrected at an early stage, the changes are likely to determine the nature of the person the child will be in the future. On some occasions, a child’s full potential may not be fully realized because of poor and insensitive foster care. In addition, poor interpersonal relationships and instability experienced at foster homes usually extend to the child’s peer network. This will complicate a child’s ability to make friends, and hence, develops feelings of stigmatization (Meese, 2010). Stigmatization results in isolation and diminished status within a child’s age group. A child will internalize negative views made against him or her, and eventually lose his or her identity at the adolescent stage (Meese, 2010). However, a placement relationship between the foster child and foster parents presents a unique blueprint of emotional impassiveness. At the adolescent stage, a child can develop unwillingness for self-expression as means of protection (Goodyer, 2011). This results in a situation of social detachment from others.
Although foster care is associated with negativity in a child’s life, it can influence a child’s adolescence in a better way. In this case, foster parents are able to shape and nurture the future of a child by providing all the necessary needs. At the same time, foster parents can provide essential advice, which improves the welfare of a child. This is very resourceful for the growth of a child, especially at the adolescent stage where he or she is prone to peer pressure (Pecora, 2010). On the other hand, fear and confusion among the foster children due to early-life challenges should be addressed. These feelings can prevent a child from developing both mental and physical problems that will eventually affect one’s educational outcomes at the adolescent stage.
Goodyer, A. (2011). Child-Centred Foster Care: A Rights-Based Model for Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Meese, R. L. (2010). Family matters: Adoption and foster care in children’s literature. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited.
Pecora, P. J. (2010). What works in foster care?: Key components of success from the Northwest Foster Care Alumni Study. Oxford: Oxford University Press.