According to National Public Radio, there are about 115,000 kids in foster care at any given time. Students who are planning to go into social work or a related field may work closely with foster children and foster families. Although the foster system is known for negative stories, there are still many positive outcomes. These are a few examples.
1. Mr. Jones
In this story, the common struggle between parents who decide to adopt foster kids and kids who are old enough to know that their adoptive parents are not their birth parents was an issue. Tony was a child who acted out and had a lot of disagreements with his foster parents. The root of Tony's problems was his fear of someone coming to take him away again. After his foster parents adopted him, he still tested them to see how far their loyalty would go. His foster-turned-adoptive parents persisted in showing him love. Mr. Jones grew to love them and went on to succeed in college.
In this inspiring story, a couple who had not thought about fostering a child with disabilities decided to take home an infant with disabilities. The couple knew that the child would do much more than expected and extended that confidence into the way they treated him. Within weeks, he could sit up and could talk by his first birthday. Although they were told that Christian would not walk for several years, he started walking at 14 months. The couple decided to adopt him, and his life continues progressing well despite the unfavorable predictions that stemmed from his disabilities.
One issue that foster children often face is being unable to see their relatives. In this story, young Benjamin was exposed to drugs at birth and placed in foster care. His aunt was contacted and agreed to be his foster parent. Since the family had suffered the loss of many members, his aunt was determined to keep him in contact and prevent him from going to a foster home with a stranger. He is doing well in her care, and she makes sure that he is able to see his extended family often.
4. Five Siblings Saved
This is another case where a family worked hard to help each other. Five siblings were facing the possibility of being separated into different foster homes. Four of the five siblings had different fathers, and none of them could care for the kids. Their mother was a substance abuser. Some second cousins stepped forward and agreed to take in the foster children. They decided to adopt the kids, and they all continue thriving in a loving environment surrounded by family.
Not all foster children are young when they enter the system. In this case, Julius was 17 when he entered after attempting to commit suicide. He could not be placed back in the care of his parents due to their relationship issues and the effects it had on his severe depression. A distant relative took him in as a foster child and inspired him. He is finishing his GED and planning for a brighter future. Julius and the mother of his young child are also working hard to become better parents together for their child.
There are times when foster workers will become discouraged. However, it is important to remember the success stories. Human services graduates who plan to work in the foster system should document their own success stories to look back on for inspiration and continued professional growth.
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