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Answering Children’s Questions about Foster Care

Recently, a colleague came to me for advice on addressing a very tough question from a child: Why don’t I live with mommy anymore? With roughly 400,000 children in out-of-home placements in the United States, this is a question that gets asked by hundreds of thousands of children every year.

If you’re a foster parent, you’ve probably answered this question many times. However, if you’re a relative taking custody of a child, this question may not be one you’ve prepared for. Instead of anxiously awaiting the child’s question, I recommend being proactive and facilitating a meaningful discussion with the child about the move.

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Answering Children’s Questions about Foster Care

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  1. Was in foster care for 1 year-ish as a teen. I was voluntarily signed over by one of my parents. Thought I had forgiven after a year or two & moved forward & it wasn’t a factor in my life.

    Now after some very serious emotional trauma & analyzing myself with the goal of not repeating bad choices & ultimately winding up in same kind of traumatic situation, I am realizing that so much of my self has been affected by the foster experience; social isolation, poor self-image, lack of trust in relationships that they will be there, major abandonment issues, etc & etc.

    I’ve been to counselors — the last one said I’ve lived 10 lifetimes worth of emotional trauma & that I was still here, she had nothing to teach me.

    My ultimate question is are there any specialty counselors/programs that handle adult former fosters? Maybe even free ones since most of us are low on the socio-economic scale? Groups, programs, self-help, books I can read or DVD’s?

    That’s the basic gist of my question. Thank you for your thoughts.



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