On the given day, the United States holds on average, 438,000 children in foster care. But what exactly is foster care? Foster care is multiple programs take children that have been orphaned, abused, neglected, or abandoned from ages 0-18 and give them the support and help they need. Children can be put in foster care at any time during their life until they reach the age of 18. Some children are in programs for days, years, or sometimes even a few hours. Critics of foster care wonder, is it safe? Do children really need to be there? Are they stable? In this paper, I will argue that with relationships, they form with foster parents, the resources such as the Family Reunification Program, and the reinforcement of the children, foster care is the perfect place for traumatized, abandoned, or neglected children to have a place to call home.
Before adoption, parents usually go through foster care programs. A foster child can be difficult to handle, but also a blessing to many people. There are couples all around the world who aren’t able to have children, therefore, a foster child could be a gift for them. Critics often feel as if separate homes are hurting the children more rather than staying under state care. Foster parents have to go through many programs, courses, and even a home evaluation in order to receive a foster child. This ensures that the child is safe, secure, and in good hands. Whilst living with foster parents, a traumatized child is able to have the family they deserve.
Foster care isn’t just placing a child in a new home with new parents. There’s much more involved. Children need time to heal after something traumatic happens. -Some critics argue that families need time to recover from events that might have impacted their family and that children should not be forced to be with another family until their own family can either be restored or not. They also argue that children in foster care are not completely financially stable. However, these certain programs work to fix those issues:
(1) Family Reunification Program- This program work to help bring families back together if possible; (2) Termination of Parental Rights- If families cannot be restored, this program works to abolish parental rights of the child that way the child is no longer under the care of the parent. (3) Children Welfare agencies- These agencies work to monitor the health, development, and well-being of the child. They provide health insurance, specialized counseling, rehab, and occupational and speech therapy. These agencies are statewide and they work to benefit children in foster care.
Meeting the child’s needs is crucial in any foster home. One of the biggest situations that critics of foster care focus on is whether the child is getting the correct help and amount of help that they truly need. Before any child is placed in a new home, the foster parents are put through courses and classes that teach them how to care for the child’s specific need. Reinforcement occurs that way the child can feel comfortable and more familiar in a new environment.
Brian and Dana Lopez are an excellent example of reinforcement. Foster care has become one of their biggest passions and they have been foster parents for about a decade now. Brian and Dana first opened their home to a young girl named Hailey over 10 years ago. As they grew to know her story more and her personality, Hailey became apart of the Lopez family in 2009. As the years went on, Brian and Dana continued to foster many young teenage girls in there Missouri home. Having two young girls of there own, they approximately have a total of 8 people living with them each year.
About 5 years ago, Brian and Dana opened up Dogwood Ranch, a ranch for foster children and veterans. The ranch provides long-term care to those traumatized in foster care. Dogwood ranch has three main missions, 1) Healing Reins: A Equine Therapy program (meaning the use of horses); 2) Transitional Living Program: Crisis Housing; 3) Community of Foster Homes: Highly trained foster parents to take care of older youth with high elevated needs. Dogwood Ranch is just one of many institutions that provides the necessities children need in foster care.
Although many people have their critics about foster care. Through relationships with foster parents, resources such as the Family Reunification Program, and reinforcement such as Dogwood Ranch, foster care programs have improved over the years to give neglected, abandoned, abused, and orphaned children safe and secure homes. Every child in this world deserves a family and foster care opens a door to traumatized children that gives them a place to call home.
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