The average child in foster care is in 2nd grade–a time when they are learning how to add and subtract hundreds, what shape a can of soup is, how to write a basic story, etc (Harvey). Now imagine that child not being able to live with their parents, moving in with a relative or even a total stranger.
At that age, it is extremely difficult for a child to truly understand what’s happening, and why they aren’t with their family. Even if the foster family is loving, caring, and genuinely wants what’s best for the child, it doesn’t mean that the child isn’t scared. To make a young, scared kid feel safe in a new home is an extremely difficult thing to do. 87% of children are in foster care for 3 years or less, and the majority are out of foster care within the first 2 years. Often times, the state is waiting on the parent to get back on their feet, so the child can go home. This leads to just over half of kids put in in foster care eventually going back to their birth families. Nearly a quarter of kids in foster care are put up for and eventually adopted. Another 17% are either placed with other family or a permanent guardian, and the rest leave by other means (childwelfare.gov).
Foster Care is a system that’s constantly progressing for the betterment of the child and the parent.
Foster care helps 600,000 children per year stay safe, fed, and cared for while they wait. That’s not to say it’s easy. A lack of stability in the most formative years of a person’s life can be detrimental to development. However, the selfless acts of love and compassion thousands of foster families show to children who are not their own is something we can all learn from, and something they very often instill in these children.