COMMENTARY: It takes a special person to be a great foster parent

February 12, 2020 /

When people think of foster care, they often think of the youth in the system. But foster parents play a key role in helping these youth grow into responsible young adults.

I believe one of the main problems in foster care is foster parents are not properly trained to work with and mentor youth who have suffered from traumatic experiences.

Nearly 440,000 youth spent time in foster care in 2019 and within four years of aging out, 50 percent had no earnings, according to iFoster 2019, a nationwide nonprofit that seeks to ensure every child growing up outside of their biological home has the resources and opportunities they need to become successful, independent adults.

Fabian Tolan

So, what are we doing to analyze these numbers? With statistics like those previously mentioned, it’s clear we are not doing enough to ensure parents have the proper skills to teach youth how to properly be a productive member of society.

I know you can’t change what has happened in someone’s past; however, well-designed self-determination enhancement interventions and the support of caring adults can reduce negative mental health outcomes and improve quality of life, the Children & Youth Services Review 2018 said.

Foster parents need to be the best foster parents they can be. Being a foster parent is not easy and should not be viewed as just another job.

They are taking on a role to care for children and youth who can contribute to the U.S. economy and society.

Foster parents should considered what they are feeding the child, as well as teaching real life skills such as money management, interpersonal skills, and the importance of getting an education.

Foster parents should also consider how to use the money they get from the government responsibly. It should be going into a savings account for the youth who will face many adversities after leaving care.

Research has shown stress increases in foster youth when it is time to phase out of the foster care system, especially for youth who have less-than adequate support systems, according to Journal of Family Social Work.

With more dedicated and loving foster parents, we can really start to see the foster care in The United States become self sufficient. It will help youth make better choices, stay out of prison, stay off drugs and become emplyed.

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