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The Foster Care System and Its Myths

The foster care system itself is a term that many are familiar with and have heard of countless times before; the general consensus among the common population is that the system is in place to provide homes to youths who do not have a family to stay with. However, it is important to note that that is only one aspect of the foster care system, which has a much larger, overall goal of protecting the children under their care on a temporary basis. Through popular media, people are often presented with stereotypes and misinformation about foster homes, and, to many, those myths are often formulated as truths within their minds. Without ever learning the truth about foster care, some misconceptions may even paint the system in a negative light, promoting stigmatization surrounding the concept of foster care.


The goal of this blog post is to address some of the myths surrounding the foster care system as well as provide the correct information and context behind it. With this, we hope to be able to clear up any misconceptions that one may have regarding the system.


Myth #1 - Children are placed in foster care because they are “bad kids.”

Children are not placed as a result of their own behavior, but, rather, the behavior of their families and/or guardians. Foster care strives to provide protection and shelter to children who need to be removed from their guardians in any scenario where a court may deem their guardian as unfit to look after them, typically on a temporary basis.

Overall, there is a lot of stigma surrounding foster care youths, with people labeling them as “misfits,” “crazy,” “violent,” “dirty,” “unsafe,” and “unsuccessful.” It is important to understand that it is not the fault of the youths themselves that they are in foster care, nor is it foster care itself that should be contributing to these labels. Every individual is different, and overall stereotypical terms of foster youths cannot be applied to each and every one of them, or even most of them for that matter.


Myth #2 - All foster care children will be placed with and live with foster care parents.

Foster care homes are not limited to just the traditional parent-child system, but they also include formats such as group homes, residential care facilities, emergency shelters, and supervised independent living. There are not nearly enough foster care parents to look after all children under the foster care system, so utilizing other methods of foster care is necessary to ensure that every child is getting the care that they need.


Myth #3 - Children under the foster care system can expect to stay in the system for the rest of their childhood.

The ultimate end goal of foster care is the reunification of the child with their guardian(s) after ensuring that the conditions that the family lives under are healthy and safe for both the child and the guardian. Children can live in foster care for some weeks while others stay within the system for years, but nearly half of all children under the foster care system are reunified with parents while another quarter is adopted into new families.


Myth #4 - Foster care children are restricted from many of the normal day to day activities that children can experience (i.e. going to school, going out with friends).

Many foster care children experience “normal” circumstances when it comes to their day to day life. Foster care children are still able to attend school and participate in activities as they desire. Just because they are not living under the same circumstances that they were initially does not mean that their entire life is put on hold.


Myth #5 - Foster care facilities are miserable and often provide worse circumstances than their previous families.

As previously stated, the goal of foster care is to provide protection to children as well as provide for all their needs. The facilities of foster care must be of high enough quality to be livable and considered humane situations. Foster cares provide funding for the lives of the children under their care, and there are many support groups that provide donations to contribute to the financial stability of foster cares.

Foster care children are given all the resources that they need to survive in addition to additional support that they may need. Aside from the necessities of shelter, food, and clothing, many youths are provided with welcoming environments that they need to thrive. Funding for individual youths is even able to provide them with external resources, such as health care, education, and even counselors.


These are only a few of the many myths and misconceptions surrounding foster care systems. If we want to be able to contribute to supporting underprivileged youths around our world, one of the first steps that we can take is educating ourselves and learning more. The internet is always a great way to do independent research, but always remember that checking the reputability of any source is of utmost importance.









Bibliography

CDSS Department of Social Services. Foster Care.

egal%20guardians. Accessed 26 July 2023.

Delgado, Gemma. Guest Column: Mythbusting Foster Care Stereotypes, The Daily Evergreen. 8 December 2022.

July 2023.

Guest Writer. Stigma Associated with Youth in the Foster Care System, The Imprint. 8 August 2016.

2023.

Things People Never Told Me. https://www.pathwaysrtc.pdx.edu/pdf/proj2-ThingsNoOneToldMe.pdf. Accessed 26

July 2023.

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