Challenges Faced by Children in Foster Care

• Grief and Loss: All children who enter foster care experience grief and loss due to the separation from their biological family. This happens whether or not the child has an abusive or neglectful background. It happens even to babies, who have had nine months in utero to get used to the sounds and rhythms of their biological mother.

• Fear and Anxiety: Children who enter foster care experience fear and anxiety. While the children are placed with people who have been determined able to provide a safe place, children still need to learn to trust the new adult(s) in their lives. Some of the children who come into care have not attached well to anyone in their family.

Multiple Placements: Children often experience multiple placements which happen for reasons such as foster parents leaving the program or children needing a home more suited to their specific needs. These placements make attachment and trust much more difficult for foster children.

Difficulty Trusting Adults: Many foster children have no reason to trust adults and this makes it difficult when they are in school, where most children generally trust teachers. It is important to remember that, in order to survive both emotionally and physically, foster children have had to rely on only themselves. Through patience, time, good parenting, and teamwork, these children can come to trust adults.

• Fragmentation of services due to moves: Services such as education, therapy, and medical care are fragmented when children move from place to place. At times, these services end up being worthless as the fearful children have no clear sense of who will take care of them.

*From a list compiled by The Colorado Post-Adoption Resource Center and featured in the publication Family Diversity in Education: Foster Care, Kinship Care, Adoption and Schools