Tips and Tricks

Foster Children Face Many Challenges

-Brianna Clark

Every child has a different story to tell. Some stories are harder to tell than others. Many children grow up in wonderful homes where they don’t have to worry about going hungry or being homeless, or other traumatic situations.  Other children aren’t as fortunate and instead live in foster care, waiting to either go back to their parents or be adopted.

According to the Children’s Bureau Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) 2017 report, 442,995 children were in foster care, and 123,437 were waiting to be adopted. Sadly, some children in foster care never get adopted out. In fact, in 2016, more than 20,000 young people aged out of the system without permanent families.

Children in foster care face challenges that may affect their behavior in your Sunday school or Good News Club® setting. These children rarely stay in one home long term but instead go from home to home. This can cause them to feel insecure, unsettled, and unloved. Their behavior may change, and they may become difficult to work with. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 30 percent of foster children have severe emotional or behavioral issues that make family life challenging. Some children in this type of home life have developmental delays and mental health issues such as depression, poor social skills, and/or anger.

Children in this environment may be more sensitive or more likely to be defiant towards the teachers. They may not be as willing to participate in group activities. It may seem as though they have put up a wall around themselves. This is their way of protecting themselves from further hurt. Sometimes children who are in abusive situations will behave aggressively towards other children. If you at any time suspect that a child is being abused at home, immediately tell the proper authorities!

The most important thing to remember when working with these children is that they need love. They need someone who cares about what they are going through. By letting God’s love flow through you to the child, you will begin to earn their trust. Being gentle with them will reassure them that you are not going to hurt them and that they can trust you. Be understanding and empathetic towards them. Let them know that you care, and they can come to you. Above all, assure them that God loves them more than anyone else and that they can talk to Him no matter what.

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