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How To Help Foster Children Feel Safe In A New Environment

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If you’ve ever brought a pet home for the first time, you know that acclimating an animal to a new environment takes time. You have to help the new animal feel safe and comfortable by buying them a new toy, a bed to help them feel comfortable, and a blanket for comfort. Children aren’t any different when it comes to living in a new situation. Foster children have a history that they bring with them that should be considered. It is important to help them feel comfortable and safe in their new home.

Ways To Help Foster Children.

Ask them what they enjoy. Learning what a foster child is interested in is helpful when helping them feel comfortable. Help them feel integrated. If the child enjoys playing with Legos, set up a playroom that includes a variety of Legos that they can choose from.

Learn their history. Find out about the child or children you’re bringing into your home. Take them to places they enjoy. Planning fun outdoor activities to will help your foster child feel comfortable. It is important to help them feel as welcome as possible. Take them to the museum, local park to socialize them. Don’t pressure the child to forge new friendships. Remember that each children has their own personality. Some are shy and not as outgoing. Give the children space to get to know each other.

Have healthy and open communication. Sit with your foster child and speak with them at their level. Don’t pressure them to speak. You may want to speak to them while they are engaged in an activity and ask them questions. Let them answer at their speed and don’t take it person if they don’t respond immediately. Remember that you are also new to them and it takes time to nurture any new friendship and relationship. Give it time. im 19 can i take viagra

Create a safe environment. Offer them space and time. Don’t pressure the child to do what he or she may not be ready to do. Remember that being in your home is new to them. Be patient with them. Offer them a comfort toy. Children love having a special blanket or toy. It is their safety blanket and comfort. Allow your foster child to have a special comfort to help them as they assimilate to their new environment.

Discuss boundaries with everyone in the house. When a foster child enters a new home it is important to be sensitive to their history. If the child came from an abuse situation, talk to the other children in the household in a kind and gentle way. Help them understand the importance of having patience and sensitivity. Help them feel comfortable. If the foster child is having conflict with integration, give them space and time. Don’t force them to participate in activities that might them feel alienated or pressured. They need to feel as safe as possible in their new environment.

Finding comfort in new environments is a challenge for everyone. Feeling pressure or judgement from others can hinder our ability to find acceptance and safety. You may want to read literature to help you understand your foster child. Study their personal history and observe. Your foster child needs your respect and gentle loving care as they transition. Be source of comfort to them and create a safe place for them to grow and thrive. Enjoy the new adventure and stay positive!

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Foster Children and Holidays

When the holidays roll around, regardless of what you celebrate, it’s easy to take them for granted and assume that everyone shares the same feelings of comfort and joy. If you are a foster parent, you know that the holidays can be difficult for foster children of all ages. While it’s important to make your foster child feel special during the holidays, don’t avoid “touchy” subjects that may become intensified during the holiday season. Remember, your foster child may struggle with conflicting feelings of loyalty, general stress, and maybe hopelessness. Here are some ways to make the holidays a little easier for your foster child: cialis uk reviews

Prepare Ahead of Time

 

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, you and your family probably has annual traditions. When including your foster child, tell him or her about your traditions. Additionally, ask him or her if there are any traditions that he or she would like to introduce to you and your family. Definitely inform and include your foster child in any and all activities, but don’t expect him or her to jump right on board. For example, if your foster child never celebrated holidays, Christmas may be exciting yet overwhelming. He or she may have many questions and a few anxieties. Don’t overlook them and answer as best as you can. It’s always a good idea to talk about holiday plans as early as you can for better preparation.

Talk with Others about Your Foster Child

 

In addition to informing your foster child of holiday plans, don’t forget to include your family or friends. While your family and friends are most likely well-intentioned, they may have questions themselves, not knowing how to proceed with the holidays or how to include your foster child in holiday traditions. Encourage them to withhold from asking too many personal questions that may hit an already sensitive nerve. Your foster child just wants to be seen as normal during the holidays.

Be Patient with Your Foster Child 

 

As a foster parent, your patience is probably tested frequently, but don’t forget to be extra patient and understanding during the holidays. Think about how the holidays make or have made you feel; chances are you’ve felt stressed, overwhelmed, and a little sad from time to time. Your foster child may exhibit behaviors that reflect depression, anxiety, and anger. Even if the holidays are supposed to be a “happy time of year”, allow your foster child to have feelings. Don’t give up on him or her just because you want to feel in the spirit of the Happy Holidays. viagra professional 150 mg

Include Biological Parents if Possible

 

No foster child’s life story is the same and before you decide to include or not include biological parents in your holidays, you need to consider your foster child’s background, safety, and overall well-being. If your foster child is really struggling with the holidays, you may be able to ease anxiety and sadness by having him or her buy a small gift or make a card for a biological parent. If your child shows no interest or desire to acknowledge his or her biological parent, let it go; never pressure him or her to be part of something that makes him or her uncomfortable or sad. tomar 100 mg de sildenafil

Health Risks in Children

Sadly, children in foster care do not seem to fare much better than in the previous conditions that landed them there in the first place. Children who are kept in foster care develop behavioral, developmental as well as emotional problems. Not just that, children are also known to develop physical and serious health problems if they are kept in foster care for too long. The main reasons behind this is neglect and abuse. If you are associated with the child welfare system, you should understand the level of abuse, and even molestation that these children can face while in foster care. This can severely impact their mental and physical development.

Separation

If the children are separated from their parents and are put in foster care, they tend to develop complicated mental health disorders. They also have a greater risk of substance abuse and failure in educational and co-curricular activities. It can even lead to juvenile delinquency, homelessness, crime, and even imprisonment.

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If any child is found to be having mental health problems, they should be immediately taken to a mental health expert or psychiatrist. They will be able to provide the right insight and treatment for the child. There are many different ways psychiatrists can attempt to repair the lost self-esteem in the child and improve their behavior.

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Non-medical therapies include talk therapy and psychotherapy. There are different methods in which a professional would try to bring back the child to mainstream society and have them thrive, much like any other children who have never been introduced to foster care.

Psychotropic medicines are also effective against the behavioral and psychological problems that children in foster care can suffer. Care needs to be taken to not create a drug dependency. otc viagra alternative

Sometimes a psychiatrist provides a combination of the two treatment methods to be able to effectively treat the mental and physical troubles that the child may have after their experiences in foster care.

What do the reports say?

Many would be shocked to know that there are more than 500,000 children in foster care in the USA. Most of the children have been found to be the victims of drugs and substance abuse. Prolonged neglect and lack of a stable environment coupled with a gap in nurturing, it is no obvious how these children can develop mental health issues. They also have unmet medical needs and are often suffering from various diseases and health disorders.

Assessing the Child’s Condition

If you have adopted a child who had been in foster care, you need to take them to a doctor. There are certain important things that you need to remember before the first doctor’s visit: viagra professional 150 mg

  • If you have the child’s complete medical history, be sure to take that along.
  • If possible, take along the history of your child’s mental health and psychological problems.
  • You should also make the doctor aware if there has been any traumatic experience faced by the child.

You should be careful and patient with a foster child whom you might have adopted. Behavioral and mental health problems should be addressed at an early age before these turn out to be major problems in future.

Foster Children & Academic Success

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The Department of Education reports that there are an estimated 400,000 children and youth in foster care at any given time. Despite difficult backgrounds of neglect, abuse, and separation, students who have a positive educational experience are more likely to seek out and succeed in post-secondary education. Having to the opportunity to experience and succeed in college may also lead to a better life overall as adults, including self-sufficiency.

Positive educational experiences can happen as early as Pre-K; the earlier and consistent the chance at education the better the outcome. Children in foster care are unable to make choices about their education and despite any desire they have, success and happiness in education is somewhat dependent on foster parent involvement. The positive experience can also be enhanced by teachers and other faculty who take the time to structure a learning plan around the foster child.
Be Involved in Your Foster Child’s Education herbal viagra for women

Without a doubt, being a foster parent is full of rewards, but can also be challenging. Not only are you responsible for providing basic day-to-day needs such as shelter, food, & clothing, but you are also responsible for making sure that the child in your care has an opportunity for an education and is able to attend on a regular basis. Foster children, who are forced to move frequently, rarely get the chance to attend school regularly, create solid relationships with their peers, or even stay caught up in course work. As a result many fail to pass a grade level and have a poor attitude towards school, which can last for the rest of their academic career.

Although you can’t predict or control how your foster child will feel about school, you can be involved in his or her education. Here are ways to help your foster child succeed in school:

Consistently communicate with teachers and counselors. Don’t assume that your foster child’s caseworker can or will stay in frequent contact with them.

Discuss academic successes and failures, as well as any emotional or behavioral issues with teachers. Open discussions may help your foster child’s teacher create a specialized plan.

Assist with homework and offer to volunteer or be a “class parent”.
Tips for Teachers

As a teacher, you strive to understand all of your students and create curriculum based on their specific needs and learning styles. When you have a student with a “history” you may struggle with how to lend a helping hand. Some educators don’t want to treat a child differently based on his or her home life, such as living in foster care, but taking the time to learn more about your student can help him or her succeed. All foster children have different backgrounds and their academic experiences vary greatly. Here are some tips for helping a student succeed:

Make your classroom a diverse environment. Consider discussing foster care and how it’s not uncommon.

Reconsider class projects that revolve strictly on biological histories (ie. family trees). Instead, talk about what different types of families exist.

Work with the foster parent and learn as much information as you can about the student’s academic past.

Don’t coddle or single the student out, but be patient.

Foster children have the opportunity to succeed in school as long as foster parents and educators are committed to encouraging the child.

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Getting in Touch With Nearby Foster Agencies for Support

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Fostering a child is a challenging and rewarding experience. Each child is unique and deserves a safe and loving environment in which to flourish and grow. As reported by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), 397,122 children are living without permanent families in the U.S. and nearly 32% will spend 3 years in foster care before they are adopted into a permanent home. Foster parents play an important role in society and deserve a great deal of support for their efforts.

Fostering parenting isn’t always easy, as any foster parent knows. Foster parents share their homes, their time, and their attention with their foster children. They are charged with keeping these children safe, clean, well fed, and well cared for, including the child’s emotional needs. Each child has his own unique needs that foster parents must learn quickly to provide.

Finding Support Groups for Foster Parents

Fortunately, there are a number of agencies and groups that support foster parents. The National Foster Parent Association provides online directories of affiliated state and local foster care organizations, along with their contact information, so you can easily contact an agency or organization near you. Foster Care to Success provides a list or organizations at the forefront of foster care, education, and family welfare issues.

AdoptUSKids provides state-specific information about foster care and adoption. Search online with the search term “(state) foster care support.” The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families, Child Welfare Information Gateway provides contact information for foster care and adoption programs in every state in the nation.

Therapeutic Foster Care provides training programs and a lengthy list of resources with contact information for foster parents of children with special needs. These resources include the Special Olympics, Exceptional Parent Magazine’s online resource, Foster Parent Community, and the National Family Caregivers Association.

President Obama Supports Foster Parents and Children

When President Obama proclaimed May 2015 as National Foster Care Month, he made clear the vital role that foster parents play in our society, stressing that children are best raised by families – not in institutions. President Obama referred to foster parents as selfless individuals who step up and serve as parents, teachers, mentors, case workers, and faith leaders, and help foster children realize their aspirations despite the odds against them. The President announced that his administration is partnering with state and tribal leaders to improve the foster care system.

May is National Foster Care Month

Without exception, children in America should be given a fair chance to reach their full potential. National Foster Care Month was established under Ronald Reagan in 1988 with the original purpose of recognizing the selfless individuals who have opened their homes and provided the sorely needed care for foster children across America. Over time, the focus of National Foster Care Month has grown to include encouraging families to adopt children from the foster care system, ensuring the well-being of children in foster care, appreciation of professionals who work with foster care children and programs created for foster care children that are no longer supported by the system due to age. Another important purpose of Foster Care Month is to raise awareness of the statistics pertaining to foster care children in this country.

In 2015, president Obama dispelled any false idea that race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status should stand in the way of a qualified caregiver’s ability to open up their home to a foster child. Many foster youth are still in dire need of a loving home that can serve to help them to reach their aspirations.

AFCARS reported that as of 2012, more than 58,000 children in the United States were placed in institutions or non-traditional foster homes such as group homes. In addition, a study conducted by the University of Chicago demonstrated that nearly 25 percent of youth that had aged out of the foster care system had a high school diploma and only 6% went on to complete a 2 or 4 year college degree. In light of these statistics it is easy to understand why President Obama would want to discourage erroneous ideas regarding who is qualified to foster a child in America. viagra from india is it safe

Perhaps the most important aspect of National Foster Care Month is establishing future goals. While many of the statistics surrounding foster care have improved, there is still much work to be done. According to Treehouseforkids.org, nearly a quarter of youth in foster care are homeless within a year of leaving care. While we celebrate the progress that National Foster Care Month has helped facilitate, statistics like these should serve as a reminder not to give up on the challenges we have yet to conquer.

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Integrating Foster Children: Even Mundane Activities Can Pose Dangers

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As a foster parent, it is incumbent upon you to establish as normal a routine as possible for the children in your charge. Normalcy is important to the assimilation process, and it provides the children with much needed structure. Every aspect of the children’s lives (and yours) must be considered. Everything from how they will get to and from school and whether or not they will alter the dynamic of family activity time needs to be taken into consideration. Such considerations and decisions will help establish the tone and pace of your family. Also, when the children are able to anticipate what comes next in their routine, they may cooperate more freely, and learn to trust more quickly. However, even typically predictable activities can present hazards, so as you discuss plans with your new charges, keep safety at the forefront of the discussion.

School Buses

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) touts school buses as the safest way for children to get to and from school. While that may be true, the statement can lead to a false sense of security. Approximately 12,000 children are injured and 600 are killed every year in bus accidents. If your foster children will be taking the bus to and from school, review with them safety guidelines relative to behavior on both the inside and the outside of the school bus. For example:

Many of the tips listed above sound obvious, but remember that they are children, and will not automatically know how to behave on and near the bus. Additionally, since it is possible that the children have never taken a school bus, they may simply be unaware altogether of how to behave safely around buses.

Family Activities

Physical danger is certainly an important consideration when establishing a routine and familiarizing your foster children with it. Not all dangers are physical, though, and special consideration should be made when deciding on family activities. Given that you may not have the complete history of your foster children, and they are being thrust into a new family where they will be required to learn a new set of rules, children placed in your care may be prone to unanticipated outbursts that could impact the family dynamic. Such outbursts can lead to physical altercations, but more likely, the outbursts will cause the children to feel embarrassed and negative toward themselves. Such emotions can be emotionally dangerous, and lead to self-destructive behavior in children, especially those who have already experienced trauma in their lives. how to use viagra spray

To that end, and to make sure the children feel welcome, avoid competitive activities (board games, video games), at least until the children have acclimated and feel safe. Instead, consider activities that promote bonding and nurturing. Something as simple as an evening walk with the family, or sitting next to each other during movie night can go a long way toward making the children feel welcome and part of the family.

A note about using touch as a way to bond: Use caution when attempting to bond using touch, as some children may not be receptive to it and may have negative past experiences associated with it. So, use relatively noninvasive contact, such as high fives, and always affirm and respect the children’s feelings surrounding the issue of touch. alternativa natural ao viagra

 

Assuming responsibility for foster children requires a significant amount of planning in order to help them avoid dangers of all kinds. Planning is critical. Whether you are helping them stay safe on the bus, or planning inclusive activities to make them feel welcome, foster children rely solely on their foster parents to help them navigate safely through an often traumatic stage in their lives. viagra bez recepty w aptece warszawa

Do Dogs and Foster Children Mix?

When you own a dog and choose to become a foster parent, initially you will have no way of knowing if the children placed in your care know how to behave around dogs, or if they know how to spot signs of aggression. While there are a small handful of dog breeds that tend to be more naturally aggressive than others, the vast majority have relatively even temperaments. But, dogs are sentient beings with individual personalities, and given the right circumstances just about any dog can be provoked to attack someone. This can be especially true when the dog is introduced to strangers, even children.

Of course, dogs don’t always attack without warning. The ASPCA offers a comprehensive list of behaviors that are considered to be aggressive, and those should be reviewed with every new child in your home. Your foster children should be told that if they do witness signs of aggression in your dog, they should stay away from the dog and report it to you right away. But, how do dogs get to that point in the first place? What factors can cause otherwise friendly dogs to behave aggressively?

Redirection

In some instances, a dog may lash out at another animal or a person, even if the victim isn’t the source of the dog’s angst. In situations where the dog is exposed to new people, he may act out in excitement. So, foster children should be introduced to the dog one at a time, and be taught the proper way to approach and speak to it.

Pain

Normally gentle dogs can become aggressive if they are in pain. It can be difficult to initially point to pain as the motivator, however, because animals don’t typically show it in the same overt way as humans. In fact, the dog might not be exhibiting any other outward signs at all, such as having an open wound or walking with a limp. Since your foster children may not know how to properly interact with dogs, or the children may be aggressive themselves, never leave a child alone with the dog because they could both end up getting hurt.

Territory

Dogs can be territorial by nature, though some breeds are more prone to being protective and possessive than others. A dog’s territory might extend beyond the home, too. In areas a dog is familiar with, such as the neighborhood where he is taken for walks, aggression can be triggered more easily than if he was in an unfamiliar park. In that instance, seeing strange dogs on his ‘turf’ or fear of the unknown may spark his aggression.

The same holds true for strangers in their homes. That is why it is best to introduce the dog to the new children on neutral ground. For example, introduce them to one another at a park the dog doesn’t frequent. Then, when the children do enter the home, the dog will have already become familiar them, and will be less likely to feel territorial.

Fear

The feeling of being overwhelmed and uncertain can cause a dog to become aggressive when he is around strangers, particularly if the dog senses the stranger is a threat to his family. Sudden movements or loud voices can trigger a panic-like reaction in a dog, at which time he could attack because he fears for his safety, or that of his family. So, teach your foster children that they must always speak gently and walk slowly around the dog no matter how much interaction they’ve had.

Of course, it is possible for foster children and dogs to get along, but the best chance of that happening is to educate the children from the start. Teach them how to interact with your dog, and how to spot signs of aggressions. That way, it will be a safe home for both the dog and your foster children.

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