Foster Care Children: A Vulnerable Population at Risk

Wednesday, 9 July 2008: 10:30 AM
Delilah Bruskas, RN, MN , Nonprofit, Pacific Northwest Alumni of Foster Care, Tacoma, WA

Learning Objective 1: have a greater awareness of the mental health outcomes of those from foster care.

Learning Objective 2: have a greater understanding of the perceptions and experiences of those in and from foster care.

Nationally, 542,000 children are in foster care. Many of these children have prior histories of maltreatment such as abuse and neglect; with neglect being the most common form of maltreatment and the reason for many children requiring foster care services. Painful experiences associated with maltreatment and the trauma of being removed from one's parents (foster care) may affect the developmental and mental health of children.

Most children in foster care, if not all, experience feelings of confusion, fear, apprehension of the unknown, loss, sadness, anxiety, and stress. Such feelings and experiences must be addressed and treated early to prevent or decrease poor developmental and mental health outcomes that ultimately affect a child's educational experience and the quality of adulthood. Systemic orientation for all children entering foster care is proposed as a preventative intervention that addresses associated experiences of children in foster care.