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A-Z of FOSTER CARE.. all you need to know about becoming a foster carer and information to support current foster carers

There is no way to avoid the reality that children who enter care (foster, relative/kin care) are highly likely to have experienced trauma by way of their earlier experience. I just want to acknowledge here that intergenerational disadvantage, parent’s own trauma, untreated mental health, homelessness, domestic violence are all playing into the reasons children enter care and behind that is often systemic issues such as racism and lack of services to support families earlier.

The next traumatic event for children and young people is the actual trauma of being taken from their parent/s – ideally this is planned and done with absolute respect for family but sadly there is a long legacy of this happening very reactively and poorly.

Another form of trauma relates to when family or foster carers agree to take a child/children and then soon after renege/relinquish/retire from this commitment. There are children that move from ‘home’ to ‘home’ due to this pattern and that caused significant adverse impacts on top of their history prior to entering care.  There is also a small percentage of children that experience adverse experience in care which is heart breaking.

This level of trauma is obviously going to impact on their ability to have normal functioning in all areas. Imagine a child who is constantly scared, hungry, sore, confused, lonely, rejected. Their ability to process the world around them is completely disrupted by the constant state of fight, flight or freeze. So, it is not surprising that when children in care have behaviours that are a consequence of their own life experience. This may manifest as compliance, being very oppositional, having no idea how to respond to routines/boundaries, not accepting ‘no’ or ‘not now’ as a response.

From my view, the ability to provide trauma informed care to children in care is the main priority. Children deserve and need to feel safe to be able to function.. just like us adults. Children who have experienced trauma need time to heal in a safe environment.

Trauma informed parenting is playing the long game and it is a big commitment.

I have been playing the long game now for 7 years. When CC arrived she was very young and incredibly compliant to the point of wondering what her actual view on anything was. Over time she found her voice and with time it also became evident that CC struggled in different environments, struggled with change, struggled with noise and struggled to be vulnerable as well. We did eventually go to a ‘dual diagnosis’ clinic which is driven by trauma specialists. At this point, we were given an option. Yes, CC had Reactive Attachment Disorder due to the very high number of ‘placement changes’ she experienced during her critical attachment years. We were also given the choice about including a diagnosis of ‘low range’ autism (not the actual terminology they used but you get what I mean). The hypothesis was that we can call is ‘autism’ or we can call it ‘trauma’ and work on healing the trauma. We opted for the later and I continue to apply trauma strategies to help CC. At times I feel like I ‘over-parent’ her and this is really just following the importance of routine (we are flexible but try to generally follow the same routine most days) but I know that CC benefits most from this style which means life is easier for all of us. BTW this is working incredibly well and CC will soon start some trauma therapy (age appropriate) to help her further with her healing.

I do want to mention the importance of co-parenting children with trauma. I did learn this one the hard way. It is really important that if there is more than one adult in the home, then there is a shared agreement to apply trauma informed parenting strategies. If not, there will be confusion for the child in terms of a lack of consistency and this will have negative knock on effects for everyone. I have put together some questions to help you have these conversations if you are considering foster caring or caring for child in your family that has to come into statutory care. Email me for a copy.

You can provide trauma informed care, even in respite and a key to doing this well is that all adults supporting that child in the home environments have a consistent approach to help him or her have predictability.

You of course could and should, where possible, work with the child’s birth family/first family to share elements of parenting that are working well to help them with their relationship or to support getting children back home.

There really are many resources available to foster, relative/kin carers in relation to providing trauma informed care (such as reparative parenting). There is training (in person and face to face), different therapeutic modalities (EMDR, Parent Child Interaction Therapy, Family Functioning Therapy and many others I don’t know about) and then there is your foster care agency who should have staff and resources available to help with this.

Another key area to align support for children with trauma-based behaviours is their school. This really is a hit and miss but it shouldn’t be. There are many resources also available to school (such as calmer classrooms) to ensure teachers are also trauma informed. If you are a carer and are finding the school is blaming and shaming a child with trauma for their behaviours, then they are absolutely exacerbating that child’s greatest fears and behaviours.

Want to learn more?

https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/responding/trauma/caregivers/

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/trauma-and-children-tips-for-parents

https://acestoohigh.com/

  1. Michael Borusiewicz says:
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    OMFG…. What about the biggest trauma a child experiences after being legally kidnapped, aprt from if they are abused or molested by their foster parents… Do you realise that most children are devastated after they are stolen from their parents??? What sort of dream world are you in???

    Source : https://carer-hub.com/2019/09/01/behaviour-of-children-in-care/comment-page-1/?unapproved=15&moderation-hash=f7d253fb872d56b34093a7bf85524c79#comment-15

Foster parents kept away by a system where kids are not yet at its heart

Social worker Daniella Zerafa says before children are taken out of home care, the biological family are given multiple chances to remedy the domestic situation. When a decision is reached, 'the child would have suffered significantly'

Malta’s fostered children are suffering from uncertainty when taken in by their carers, because of a complex decision-making process.

Dr Daniella Zerafa, a social worker who has fostered three children in the last six years, says children considered for foster care are not yet at the centre of the decision taken to move these children into stable homes.

“Although removing a child from their biological family should be the last resort, they should not suffer the consequences of waiting… Children should be in the centre, their voice should not be muffled by any other voices in this process,” Zerafa said, in a doctorate she presented to a fostering conference where she urged policy-makers to give foster children permanence, rather than constant change and questioning.

The adoption system is failing children and foster carers

You could have blinked and missed it but, according to the website of the Department of Family and Community Services and the Australian Institute for Family Studies, the past week has been National Child Protection Week. This year’s theme is “Protecting children is everyone’s business … All Australians are encouraged to play their part in protecting children”.

Nice idea, complete with a pretty picture of jumping children.  But for children in long-term foster care — the most abused and vulnerable of all children — we are not doing enough. It is a long-term crisis, almost wearyingly so.  No wonder people turn off.

This week, senator Zed Seselja launched a report by the organisation Adopt Change.

If you think Snopes is a reliable fact-checking site, think again.

Alabama CPS ‘Medical Kidnap’

An alternative medicine web site reported that Alabama CPS agents took custody of a baby because his teen mother was raped, but the claim hasn't been verified.

Alabama CPS agents took custody of a baby because his teen mother was raped.

Inside child removal in Australia

IT seems like the government can be damned if they do, and damned if they don't when it comes to removing children from their homes.

No one really knows what goes on behind closed doors. But when it comes to protecting Australian kids at risk of neglect and abuse, our state and territory-based child protection agencies are expected to not only find out what's happening but to act when a serious threat of harm threatens the health, safety and wellbeing of our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

"Can you spot the propaganda??? "

"What would the caseworker do if they think that the child is not in immediate danger, but they would be unsafe if they continued to live in that house?"

The caseworker could apply for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO). The advantages of an AVO in this case is that the alleged abuser can be ordered to leave the house, rather than requiring the child to leave.  PROPAGANDA!  In most cases DoCS remove the children altogether - citing the mother has not displayed protective behaviours - and routinely gives the children to the abuser or the abusers family.

If the caseworker doesn't think an AVO would be enough to protect the child or young person, they may consider making a Care Application to the Children’s Court for an order that the child live somewhere else until it's safe again.  PROPAGANDA again.  Their first resort is to make a care application to the children's court - and this is after they have removed the children.

Atrocity story

For false stories of atrocities, see Atrocity propaganda.

The term atrocity story (also referred to as atrocity tale) as defined by the Americansociologists David G. Bromley and Anson D. Shupe refers to the symbolic presentation of action or events (real or imaginary) in such a context that they are made flagrantly to violate the (presumably) shared premises upon which a given set of social relationships should be conducted. The recounting of such tales is intended as a means of reaffirming normative boundaries. By sharing the reporter's disapproval or horror, an audience reasserts normative prescription and clearly locates the violator beyond the limits of public morality. The term was coined in 1979 by Bromley, Shupe, and Joseph Ventimiglia.[1]

Bromley and others define an atrocity as an event that is perceived as a flagrant violation of a fundamental value. It contains the following three elements:

  • moral outrage or indignation;
  • authorization of punitive measures;
  • mobilization of control efforts against the apparent perpetrators.

The veracity of the story is considered irrelevant.[2]

Source : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atrocity_story