What Therapists Need Foster Parents To Understand

The difficult journey that leads a child to foster care is almost always a traumatic one. State-run agencies such as Child Protective Services (CPS) assess the safety of each child they handle and decide whether or not the evidence indicates an abusive or neglectful situation and whether it calls for intervention. — Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD

It’s easy enough to understand why being involved in the foster care system is complicated. What is even more challenging are the preparations and adjustments that need to be made by all parties concerned. The situation is as tough as it can get when you put yourself in the shoes of the potential foster child. This person likely had to deal with loss in many forms, was likely uncomfortable with the living situation, and couldn’t identify love and emotional attachment.


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The need for foster parents is ever so high. On average, about half a million children in the US spend time in foster care. The decision to open a home to fostering is one that shouldn’t be taken likely. Revisit and evaluate your motivation regularly and for a significant length of time, and ensure that it’s solid enough for the foundation of a foster relationship.


Many websites detail what it takes to be a foster parent, and here they are:


Parents Need To Prepare

Preparing physically, mentally, emotionally and financially is key. It’s precisely why the discerning process ideally takes a lengthy amount of time. Some of the most important considerations to prepare for are the legal processes. Nothing legal and binding is ever quick and easy. This process begins in the consideration stage and will essentially stay indefinitely, as demanded by the foster care system.


Knowing and understanding the profile of the foster child follows with a long to-do list of things to prepare. How old the child is, the culture that person is accustomed to, if they attended school, if they have family nearby and how they grew up. It determines things like sleeping arrangements in the house, school schedule, and habits in the home.

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Parents also need to understand that the preparations are not just on the part of the parents. Especially if the foster family has young kids in the picture, involving the entire family is a crucial part of the process. Getting your family on board for the change entails explaining what fostering is, answer questions a kid might have, and preparing them for the changes and challenges that come with fostering while keeping a positive mindset on the next chapter.

When kids misbehave, parents who understand their children’s underlying needs (related to development and, in some cases, past trauma) respond in ways that guide the development of the personality underneath the monstrous mood paralyzing it. — Blake Griffin Edwards, MSMFT, LMFT

Expect To Manage Difficult Behavior

Something that can’t be said any other way, many foster kids are likely to have behavioral problems as a result of being in foster care and whatever realities they needed to deal with. Unsurprisingly, communication is key. Setting the right boundaries, learning how to discipline and creating a safe space for the foster child are some ways to overcome difficult behavior.


Experts also want to remind parents that fostering might be exciting at first, but the challenges have a reputation of taking a toll on marriages. Naturally, with an unfamiliar and challenging situation, stress and tension are high, and arguments might come about, but it’s essential to ensure the healthiness of the marriage and relationship.


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With the growing recognition that adoptees have a right and a need to know about their birth-family history, most members of the adoption community acknowledge the benefits of openness for all members of the adoption triad: the adoptive parents, birth parents, and most importantly the child. — Suzette Bray, MFT

There Are People Who Can Help

An important reminder is that support for foster parents is everywhere. Experts warn that there will be many insensitive people who ask all the wrong questions and imply all the wrong things, but being surrounded by positive and helpful people will go a long way.


Find a community or support group to interact with regularly. Ask for advice, but always take everything with a grain of salt as every situation is different. Consult with a therapist or seek online therapy when things are getting too difficult to manage.


It’s not an easy process, but it sure is rewarding. Here’s to providing a better life for someone, one child at a time.




How Therapy Can Help Foster Children With Separation Anxiety

It’s natural for young children to feel anxious to say goodbye to their parents. They may cry or have tantrums, which can be healthy reactions and a stage of development for children. While the intensity of separation anxiety can vary, some children may not move on from this.

Many children end up in foster care for various reasons. However, a common problem that many of them face is dealing with separation anxiety from their homes and caregivers. These traumatic experiences can lead to mental health issues. It can also negatively impact how they develop socially and emotionally.

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No child deserves to go to foster care, and every child deserves a safe and secure home. That is why proper access to mental health resources should be given priority. Thousands of vulnerable children in foster care would benefit from therapy. When they regularly meet with a licensed therapist, children are given a chance to lead healthier and happier lives. 

What Is Separation Anxiety?

Excessive fear of detachment from a loved one defines separation anxiety. This disorder is a common occurrence seen in younger children. Some common causes of SAD are changes in their environment, stress, and insecure attachment.

According to psychologists, having a parental figure or caregiver is vital for young children. Forming this relationship helps them develop socially and emotionally. So, it can be difficult for a foster child when they have never been attached or have been removed from their parental figure. 

Being taken away from their home and loved ones can perpetuate fear and trauma. Their stress and trauma can be further exacerbated when placed in a foster home. Changes in their environment and previous history of distrust can agitate them and cause tantrums. It’s best to find a foster parent who has the patience and experience to care for traumatized children.

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While foster care can be seen as a solution for a child from an unstable household, many children will find it difficult to understand why they are separated from their homes. This confusion can give them trust issues and an intense fear of abandonment. This, in turn, can later manifest in their relationships. 

Some symptoms of Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) are:

    • Experiencing sleep disorders
    • Feeling sad and withdrawn
    • Being easily agitated
    • Having trust issues with caregivers

SAD in foster children can be difficult to treat because of their circumstances. Most of them do not get access to the mental health services they need. Thus, they find it hard to bond with and trust their new caregivers. 

The fear usually subsides when they start feeling secure in their environment. But for many children in foster care, their separation anxiety can continue past their adolescence. In some cases, it can even stay with them until adulthood. 

Which Children Are Vulnerable To Separation Anxiety?

Studies show that more LGBTQ+ youth live in foster care and unstable households than their heterosexual peers. These queer adolescents are more likely to have poor academic functioning, develop an addiction, and struggle with mental health conditions. They are already marginalized because of their SOGIE and more vulnerable due to their material conditions. As such, there is a greater need to protect them.

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Meanwhile, among different ethnicities in the US, African-American children are more vulnerable compared to white kids. This situation may be explained by the gap in wealth amongst these racial communities. As studies suggest, poverty is a direct link to children’s placement in foster care. 

These disparities are heartbreaking. However, we must face them squarely for us to address the underlying issues and give foster kids the care they deserve. Given more accessible mental health resources, we provide these vulnerable children with the chance to overcome their separation anxiety and other mental health problems. 

How Therapy Can Help

A mental health professional can treat SAD in children. Children in foster care require early treatment, or their disorder may continue until their adulthood. Since they have a different experience than other kids with SAD, it is best to find a therapist who has experience treating foster kids. 

Your therapist may recommend a foster child to undergo Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an effective form of psychotherapy. During CBT, they will learn how to understand their fears and healthily manage their emotions. Then, they would eventually develop healthier coping skills.

Specialists can also use exposure therapy, another form of CBT. It works by carefully exposing children to separation in controlled amounts. This treatment option helps reduce their anxiety over time. 

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A foster parent can also help make a secure environment by discussing the child’s issues. It helps to learn what triggers their foster child’s anxiety. Also, they can practice the strategies within the treatment plan that their therapist prepared for their kid.

Most importantly, a therapist may help by giving calm support. With their help, foster children can become open to new experiences and develop their independence. For any concerns regarding the child’s well-being, they are the ones to consult. They carry these children’s best interests at heart, so caregivers can be at ease leaving their charges to a therapist’s care.


No children choose to be put into foster care. It can be extremely challenging and traumatic to experience separation from their home and their loved ones. However, in many circumstances, foster care is in their best interest. They may be in grave danger in their original household, or their parents cannot provide them with the material and emotional support they need. 

Foster children with separation anxiety are vulnerable to many mental health issues. That is why it is crucial to provide access to mental health resources. Many kids will have to face the reality of their placement under foster care. Because of the trauma from separation, we should pay close attention to their care and development. One of the best ways we can secure their mental health is through therapy. If given early attention, they can overcome this disorder as they reach adulthood. 


Why Therapy Is Crucial For Foster Parents

Becoming a foster parent is extremely challenging. After all, you’ll be in charge of taking care of lives. But what makes it even harder is that the children you’ll be fostering have been through a lot and have special needs.

Often, they’ve been through traumatic situations and experienced abuse. Because of those, they may have more mental and emotional needs compared to other children. They also suffer from the feeling of instability brought by moving from place to place. As a foster parent, it would be your responsibility to introduce these kids to a safe space. It won’t be easy, but providing those kids with the security and love they deserve will be worth it.

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Talking to a therapist can help prepare you for such an important role. They’ll be there to ensure you’re in good emotional and mental shape to take care of foster children. Most importantly, they can aid you in learning how to provide the kids a safe space.

Preparing Yourself To Be A Guardian

When you become a foster parent, you immediately assume responsibility for the life of someone who’s been through a lot. As such, you’ll have to do some preparations for welcoming them into your home. You’ll have to look at things like your financial capability, their room, and necessary supplies. But other than that, you’ll also have to assess your preparedness and capacity as a carer.

Look at your lifestyle, habits, and behavior. Fostering requires a great deal of sensitivity, and it should show through your words and actions. That includes getting rid of biases and judgment, developing healthy routines, and being a great role model for the children.

Therapy can address all those factors. In addition, your therapist can help you break problematic behavior and build healthier ones in their place. You may or may not have to change a lot about your general disposition, and you need to be ready to do so. It may also feel overwhelming at times, but keep in mind that all this will be for your foster children.

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Helping You Provide For Your Foster Children

Kids of all ages appear in foster care, from newborn babies to teens nearing legal age. As a guardian, you need to be able to provide the basic material needs. But aside from that, foster children will need emotional, mental, and social support. 

You have to keep in mind that these children may have never seen what a healthy home is. There’s also a chance that they feel unwanted, more so if they’ve already jumped through different houses over time. In addition, they may not even be interested in knowing you. Again, you always have to remember they have unique experiences that have influenced them into becoming what they are now.

Some kids may have experienced abuse and continue to suffer through some mental health conditions. It’s also possible for them to have depression and anxiety depending on the status of the mental health of your foster child. Others may have post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD or may be experiencing an identity crisis due to constantly moving houses. Unfortunately, they have one or more of these concerns more often than not.

You’ll have to equip yourself with knowledge on how to look after children with those conditions. Agencies usually provide training for foster parents like you. However, it would benefit both you and the children if you sought a therapist’s help to be sure. As a professional, they’ll be able to give you advice so you could interact with your foster children healthily.

It won’t be easy fostering those kids towards a better state of mind and heart. It’s also highly possible for them to be unaccepting of your care. Because of that, you’ll have to pay more attention and be more patient and compassionate towards them. It won’t be a smooth journey, but therapy can assist you in making those children feel safe and secure again.

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Allowing You To Care For Them And Yourself

Foster agencies will determine if you’re fit for the responsibility. Afterward, they’ll train you how to take care of those you’ll be housing. They’ll also provide you with clear terms containing the basics, like your role and responsibilities and how long you’ll be fostering. Most agencies will give you a monetary allowance to help with your foster’s needs.

Overall, they provide the necessary things, information, and training you need. However, you’re just a human too. It’s only natural for pressure and emotions to overwhelm you sometimes. Because of that, you may find yourself breaching your boundaries to take care of your foster child.

Your therapist may help you prevent that from happening. Remember, you’re fostering children to provide them with parental care. That involves giving them a safe space, making them feel loved, nurturing them, and keeping them healthy. That process will require effort, patience, and compassion from your side. While that may be difficult, you shouldn’t neglect your well-being in the process.

Therapy will be there to guide you in setting healthy boundaries for yourself. It’s vital, whether it’s a few minutes of alone time for yourself or refraining from over-purchasing for your foster. You may discuss your situation, thoughts, and emotions with your therapist so they can help you with boundary work.

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Aiding You In Processing The Emotional Toll Of Separation

Even if you foster children for a short time, it’s only natural to develop a bond with them. So, separating from them could deal some damage to your mental and emotional well-being. After all, you treated your fosters like they’re your own family. So it’s only expected you’ll feel negative emotions when it’s time for them to leave. 

Your therapist can help you develop a healthy coping mechanism to guide you in handling your emotions. They’ll also be there beside you to aid you in moving forward healthily.

Wrapping Up

Becoming a foster carer is difficult. It entails serious responsibilities that require effort, sensitivity, compassion, and patience. Therapy can help equip you with the proper mindset and knowledge to take on that role effectively.

Your therapist can prepare you for your role and assist you in catering to the needs of your foster children. In addition, they can help you set boundaries for yourself and aid you in processing the emotional toll of the inevitable separation. It won’t be an easy journey. But remember, you’re doing this for the kids who deserve love, compassion, safety, and security.

An Overview Of Adoption Counseling

If you are involved in an unwanted pregnancy, you could consider putting your child through an open adoption process. Thus, you need therapy or counseling. Adoption counseling is help that is intended especially to explore and cater to your needs.

adoption changes your path
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Counseling As Overall Guidance

The help we are referring to here is known as adoption counseling, and it just may be your savior if you need to sort through your emotions.

We should learn more about adoption counseling and what birth parents and foster parents should do.

Adoption Counseling: Important Goals

Adoptions counseling, often known as pregnancy services, is intended to provide support and assistance to hopeful adoptive families in learning and understanding more about their prospects of foster care.

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According to adoption agencies, services and support for this and related stuff, including counseling services, are accessible to all prospective birth parents, with no extra fees and no duty to move forward with a plan.

Some Of The Benefits

Help for adoption provides benefits to adoptive families. Your designated licensed counselor will give the aid, advice, and guidance that you require throughout the whole foster care and adoption journey.

You are confronted with one of the most arduous decisions that a future parent can make.

You might feel great about your decision to proceed with the adoption and feel prepared to start the process.

Whichever way you’re taking, individual sessions of mental help services are very much preferred.

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Changes Your Path

This will help instill coping strategies in adopted children regarding difficulty trusting, child trauma, child abuse, and grief, and help children understand the life struggles they are going through.

But if you are doubtful of your options and you have concerns as a parent, first read these adoption stories and reasons for considering family counseling or post-adoption counseling.

You can stay an anonymous person and hide your identity unless you are prepared to go through with the process.

Should you need more data about adoption choices, you can make a phone call to your adoption agency or a foster care system counselor to ask for this data without giving out your personal information.

You Are In Control Of The Whole Process

  • You are in control of the whole process, especially in a difficult time. You can speak with your own counselor consistently so that someone can walk you through the steps of the plan or get an occasional peek when you need help for adoption. You could also modify or stop your plan any time you want. Most foster families do that. For example, you would like to prefer the good mental health of your foster child, especially without fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, complex feelings, or behavioral challenges such as reactive attachment disorder. You can also look into support groups and ask about a wonderful option for you. Rest-assured, support for your concerns and your parenting journey as a whole will always be there.

It’s really up to you to decide the type of service you prefer to have and what kind of relationship you wish to establish with the process.

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Source: adoptionstogether.org


  • As mentioned, you have support and assistance in traversing the adoption plan. If you do opt to move forward with the plan, your very own professional therapist or social worker can definitely assist you in drawing vital decisions for your infant throughout the whole process. An adoption counseling expert – and adoption attorney, if needed – will be behind you through the various steps along the way as you design the adoption plan, seek adoptive families or adoptive parents, and navigate the legal process of putting him or her up for adoption. There will also be challenges post-adoption, and the healing process will not be easy.

  • You can deal with the difficult emotions that are in your way. Every potential birth family goes through periods of pain, grief, anxiety, and depression. Most moms go through postpartum depression. Your adoption counseling expert will guide you through this critical time. When you’re stable enough, you can now start healing positively. Your social worker and support groups will be there.

  • You can get help in tackling other needs or concerns. Parents who opt to have their baby adopted have various intentions. If you are thinking about adoption due to a primary issue, like financial loss, lack of family support, experienced trauma (PTSD), substance abuse, or an abusive relationship, your adoption counselor can assist in finding more resources to help tackle some of these issues.

When you are prepared to talk to an adoption counselor, either to discuss your options or to initiate the process, you may worry about who can offer to counsel.

Adoption counselors could be psychologists, family therapists, social workers, or pastoral therapists that have been selected to specialize in adoption.

They are tasked to discuss with family members or the whole family your concerns. They are there to make you feel secure.

The most common places to look for foster care or family counselors are frequently fosterage facilities that employ certified social workers experienced in coordinating with birth parents.

Most groups or organizations include support and counseling services free of charge only for potential birth parents and their families.

choose the right adoption counselor
Source: blog.time2track.com

As you start the process of seeking adoption counseling, remember to choose a counselor who:

  • Has a connection and can gain access to several information and resources, along with the adoption experts, including lawyers.
  • Has extensive knowledge of adoption and how to deal with depression, trauma, relationship issues, etc.
  • Is licensed and has gotten birth parenting and adoption training.
  • Is experienced in explaining adoptive parenting and adoptive parents.
  • Is capable of comforting parents and giving them a sense of acceptance.


It is vital to look for an adoption helper who can make parents feel comfortable, supported, and safe.

The perfect adoption helper can offer all the services, parenting support, and education you need to develop the right decision that you feel great about.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is adoption counseling?
  2. What are the 7 core issues of adoption?
  3. How do you heal adoption trauma?
  4. Is adoption traumatic for adoptees?
  5. What is adopted child syndrome?
  6. How do I become an adoption counselor?
  7. Can Counsellors work with adoption?
  8. What do adoption Support advisors do?
  9. What is an adoption support agency?
  10. What is a post-adoption social worker?

Foster Care

Deciding to support a child by providing for his needs or giving him a home – becoming foster parents to a foster child – can be fulfilling but it definitely comes with a lot of responsibilities.

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Have you heard of foster care? Who needs counseling for foster children? How does a family benefit from foster care? How do children prepare for such counseling regarding foster care or voluntary placement? Let’s look into the foster care system to be able to understand how foster care helps.

Foster Care Children Counseling – What The System Is All About

Foster care children, whose birth parents have abandoned them, young adults, or who have died early in their childhood, need foster parenting more than anyone.

Since many children carry and suffer a lot of emotional baggage and thoughts, such counseling is suitable to assist them to unload and breathe before leaving child protective services and joining their permanent families.

What entails being in foster care? What is a foster care system? Who can be a foster parent? And can everyone in foster care benefit from foster care counseling?

Let’s read what the child welfare system got to say.

Counseling can be utilized to deal with a range of issues or post-traumatic stress disorder associated with foster care and adoption.

1. Some ways that counseling may assist people in coping with foster care and adoption may include:

2. Informing the child that he is adopted, and they’re his foster family.

3. Discovering a child’s identity with best interests.

4. Giving attention to behavioral disorders in foster care or adopted and vulnerable children.

5. Processing PTSD, abuse, or trauma as they leave foster care.

6. Healing attachment problems that children or adults that were in foster care have gone through.

7. Working through addiction, depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

Attachment issues may be managed or treated with rigorous attachment-focused counseling, along with family and child trauma work.

Experienced and compassionate caregivers can self-regulate and offer children in foster care what education is required to help with the mental health of their foster child successfully.

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Adoptive Family Counseling – Principles In Parenting And Other

Counseling is commonly advocated for families who are looking to take in a foster care child out of home care or concurrent planning.

In counseling, foster care families can prepare themselves for any concerns that might emerge like funding, and learn how to adjust to a foster care child’s specific needs, including any health, medical, or behavioral problems.

But worry not. Foster parents are provided with adequate support and parental rights from foster care institutions for these things.

They can even receive financial support from some states, like Washington State, for the future if it is a part of the contract. Some can even help them attend college.

For more information on how foster parenting works from a legal perspective, you may check your location’s child welfare information gateway or the children’s bureau.

Foster Parents

With the foster care child, the foster care family members can talk about any developmental and psychological problems and work on them as a family to build trust and establish connections.

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Foster families who decide to adopt a child with certain developmental or psychological problems might find their position daunting and consider surrendering the foster care child back to the foster care home or agency.

Some of these problems may be manageable through counseling, avoiding further interference with the child’s life.

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Attachment Issues

When a foster child goes through attachment issues, trauma, or was abused, it might be difficult for him to trust the foster care family.

Foster care counseling and foster care programs help the new family members train for better guardianship for the foster care child in whatever he needs.

In family counseling, the formal foster care family can practice empathy and make the foster kid feel secure and safe in his new foster home to avoid youth aging.

Trauma Counseling For Children

Therapy or counseling may be useful for children going through placement or relocation to a group home care.

Still, those who have experienced child abuse and suffered from severe emotional trauma or neglect might have a challenging time adjusting to a new foster care home without the assistance of social services or the foster care counselor.

Role of Social Workers

Social workers may also provide assistance and resources to some foster care children of any age, although substantial caseloads frequently imply that social workers can’t spare enough quality time with each foster care child.

Foster children who have been disappointed several times because of the foster care system may not put their trust that easily in foster homes, and involuntary placement occurs.

Trauma Counseling

Trauma counseling or therapies, including trauma-based cognitive behavioral therapy, have proven to assist adults, young people, and former foster youth who go through trauma from adoption or foster care.

These therapies may work on trauma by concentrating on attachment problems that the individual or person may have grown to develop.

Trauma-based therapy usually assists individuals in processing their feelings following a traumatic event and may even help manage depression or anxiety due to trauma.

Play Therapy For Children

In some situations, play therapy is beneficial for foster care and adopted children.

Play therapy has been especially helpful to these foster care kids because play therapy involves self-expression and might be more convenient for most of them rather than expressing their thoughts and feelings in words.

When there is trauma, play therapy can function as a connection to the child’s feelings and may help counselors and caregivers learn how to assist the child.

Play therapy may also be utilized to work on anger issues and behavioral problems that children might have developed from their trauma.

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Adoption And Support Groups

There are plenty of support groups created to help foster care kids and adoptive parents.

These groups enable foster parents to gather, provide support, and talk about foster care experiences or about difficulties that may emerge in the parenting journey.

They can help foster care parents solve problems, and involuntary placement, share information and techniques, and inspire each other.

Participating in a support group for foster care families can be a vital aspect of self-care.

It may also assist a lot of foster parents in helping them feel more emotionally revitalized and prepared to deal with certain difficulties that their family and relatives are confronted with.

Final Thoughts – In A Nutshell

There are apparently plenty of support groups that provide support and advice to foster parents and families of foster children.

Still, foster care and adoptive children also benefit tremendously from participating in support groups.

They may be composed of kids, teens, and adults of all ages and concentrate mainly on individuals who came from foster care homes.

International adoptees, like African American, can actually participate in support groups that permit them to connect with people who come from similar circumstances.

These counseling groups can definitely help individuals feel safer and successfully get through their past experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Do You Mean By Foster Care?

2. How Does This Work?

3. What Is The Difference Between This And Adoption?

4. How Long Does A Homeless Or Orphaned Youth Stay With You?

5. Can This Be Done For The Long Term?

6. Do You Get Paid To Care For Homeless Or Orphaned Kids?

7. Can I Do This While Working Full-Time?

8. Can It Lead To Adoption?

9. Can I Take A Foster Kid On Holiday?

10. What Is The Allowance System?

11. How Much Do You Get If You Agree To Support A Child?

12. How Long Does It Take To Become A Support Parent?

13. How long can a foster child stay at a foster home?

14. Can you visit your child in foster care?

15. How long do most foster parents last?

Frequently Asked Questions About CBT For Foster Children 

Foster children come from different backgrounds. Some come from abusive families. Meanwhile, others may come from families that can’t provide for their basic needs due to financial constraints.

The situation they’re in may be traumatic, especially at their young age. Past cases of abuse or being away from their biological family is indeed a negative experience. 

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Regardless of their background or past, we’re sure these children need a home where they can be fully cared for.

For these foster children, mental health needs often go unmet. When, in fact, these children are at higher risk for mental health problems because of their situation. As foster parents, we should be ready to embrace and give care to these issues. 

Double trauma is common in foster children. Abuse or neglect from a biological family and stress from constantly transferring from family to family cause this trauma. Studies show that the following issues in the mental health of your foster child can be prevalent:

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 
  • Social Phobias 
  • Depression  
  • Anxiety disorders  

The frequency of these disorders is higher in foster children when compared to the general adult population. It’s alarming that mental health is typically brushed off. If we want our foster children to have a fulfilling life, we should start caring for their mental well-being. 

What can we do for our child? Besides meeting their basic needs, listening, and providing a safe space, letting them receive therapy is also possible. Particularly, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a good option. CBT is common for people with behavioral, emotional, and mood disorders.

It aims to gain insight into why behaviors and actions are done through guided questioning of thoughts and emotions. 

Being practical in structure, CBT is highly effective in helping your child process their behaviors and emotions. It can help them form healthy coping mechanisms and good relations with their foster family. 

Are you figuring out if cognitive-behavioral therapy can work for your child? Read on to know about frequently asked questions asked by other foster parents. 

What is CBT, and how does it work?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a popular form of psychotherapy that focuses on an individual’s cognitive functions, such as knowledge acquisition, thinking capacities, logic, reasoning, etc.

CBT’s goal is to gain insight into how negative thinking can impact a person’s behavior and motivation.  It is the most common approach in treating various mental health problems, especially mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

What is an example of cognitive-behavioral therapy?

Many techniques are used in cognitive-behavioral therapy. The most commonly used example of CBT is through guided discovery and questioning. This technique allows a patient to cross-examine his/her own thoughts and feelings freely.

The therapist will then challenge him/her to look at a different viewpoint and try to replace the lingering negative feelings or thinking.

Can you do CBT on yourself?

Recent studies have shown doing CBT on yourself is possible and also effective. Many self-help books available in bookstores and on the internet are informative in performing self-directed cognitive behavioral therapy without a therapist’s help.

While self-help CBT is useful, it is still advisable and best to seek a mental health provider’s advice.

How effective is CBT therapy?

While CBT therapy’s effectiveness varies per person, research has concluded cognitive-behavioral therapy as the most effective treatment approach, especially when it comes, but not limited to, mood disorders.

CBT’s effectiveness is found to be similar or far more than psychiatric medications.

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What are the disadvantages of CBT?

Like other forms of treatment or therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy has its disadvantages. Many people find CBT taxing since it is time-consuming.

It is also a person-centered approach and may not account for other stressors in an individual’s life, such as environment and relationships. CBT is also not recommended for people experiencing more complex mental health disorders.

Can CBT be harmful?

There are risks to cognitive-behavioral therapy, which some people may find harmful. For example, in a CBT therapy session, a person may be asked to explore his/her past, which may bring painful feelings and memories.

This is a form of an aggressive method, and individuals may find this uncomfortable at times.

Who is CBT not good for?

As previously mentioned, cognitive-behavioral therapy may not be the right choice for individuals suffering a more complex set of psychological problems. People who are also emotionally sensitive may find CBT challenging.

How long does it take for cognitive behavioral therapy to work?

According to statistics, cognitive-behavioral therapy takes an average of 12 weeks to 20 weeks to fully work and see an improvement in a patient’s condition. Each week usually have one therapy session lasting between an hour to two.

Is act better than CBT?

ACT refers to acceptance and commitment therapy. One cannot say that the other is better or vice versa, as both therapies work differently on every individual.

However, the difference between the two is that CBT confronts the negative emotions and thinking upfront, whereas ACT believes in accepting these negative feelings as a part of life.

What are the pros and cons of cognitive-behavioral therapy?

One of the primary advantages of cognitive-behavioral therapy is its effectiveness, being similar to or more than any other type of psychotherapy and even psychiatric medications. CBT is also highly-structured and practical.

However, CBT sessions can take up a lot of time, making it hard for an individual to commit. It may also be a lot more emotionally distressing to some people, given some sessions’ techniques.

Is CBT good for anxiety?

Yes, cognitive-behavioral therapy is right for anxiety. Studies have found CBT to be the most effective treatment option for general anxiety and other anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic depression, phobias, etc.

Can CBT make anxiety worse?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy requires people to unfold their emotions, making it uncomfortable for some, and thus their anxiety worsening. That is why it is essential to have a trusted therapist when you plan on undergoing CBT.

Why is CBT so popular?

Many studies prove CBT as an effective method in treating a wide range of psychological disorders. Therefore, cognitive-behavioral therapy is so prevalent in both clinical and research settings.

Who needs cognitive behavioral therapy?

CBT is commonly used in people with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. However, alcohol and substance abuse problems and eating disorders are also some of the other mental illnesses that can be treated using cognitive-behavioral therapy.

If you are suffering from any of these cognitive difficulties, you should ask your therapist about CBT.

What is the difference between cognitive therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy?

Both cognitive therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy target a person’s cognitive psychology. Cognitive therapy only aims to improve a person’s reasoning. Meanwhile, CBT targets the connection between an individual’s thinking capacity and behavioral skills.

Ensuring the holistic needs of your child is important. Foster children may have issues brought about by their circumstances.

Becoming a home for a child means being ready to be there for everything – including their mental health needs. You should have a high level of dedication and belief that your child can indeed lead a better life. 

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Mental issues are indicative of deeper problems and experiences. The trauma of being separated from their biological family is difficult to process even as an adult. What more if you’re just a child? 

Of course, not all children placed in foster care have mental health issues. It is important, however, that those who have can receive the right treatment and care.

Some signs you can look out for are severe mood swings, social isolation, recurring nightmares, and behavioral problems. You can seek professional help to ensure the best for your child. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a method you can consider. Its structural approach can help your child better manage their emotions and behavior. Throughout the process, the therapist will provide your child with strategies for coping and behaving.

As a foster family, you must be willing to be a support network your child can rely on for encouragement. 

Despite its benefits, CBT is not for children with complex mental health problems. It also applies if a child does not want to revisit or is unprepared to process their traumatic experiences.

Since the nature of CBT involves opening up and reviewing your thoughts and experiences, it isn’t for every child. Talk and consult with a therapist to know what’s the best course of action. 

Fostering is a wonderful experience that’s full of sacrifice, commitment, and understanding. In this act of love, caring for your child means being there for them wholeheartedly no matter what. 

Supporting Mental Health Of Your Foster Children

Children who grew up in a foster care facility experience trauma throughout their lives. This means their psychological wellness and behavioral health, while in foster care, are not at their best.


Even though they’re happy with their foster care family, there are still instances where they’ll fall into the pit of sadness and even develop psychological wellness disorders like post traumatic stress disorder. That’s how unpredictable their lives are.

The instability of the emotions of children in foster care stems from the constant move from family to family. On top of this is the loneliness they feel without the comforts of their biological family. This can lead to psychological wellness issues and even substance abuse, which will require professional care. Some foster care kids also end up entangled with the criminal justice system.

Because of this, the risk of developing disorders for foster care youth is high. The American Academy of Pediatrics associates this with the fact that most of the physical, emotional, and psychological wellness needs of children in foster care are not met. Some of the statistics that they revealed regarding the psychological wellness issues of a foster care child are the following: 

– More than half of the children in foster care have clinical mental health disorders, which require psychological wellness treatment

– Upon growing up, 34% of children in foster care experience more than two psychological disorders

– 11.6% of children in foster care experiences Panic Disorder at least once in their lives, which requires help from  professionals

With this in mind, what is the role of foster parents in ensuring that the mental health of your foster care child stays healthy throughout? Here are ways on how you can support children in foster care in this psychological wellness care journey. 

Establish Effective Communication With Foster Youth

taking care of your foster child
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One of the traumas that foster children experience is being unheard of. This is a big factor in the welfare and mental health of your foster child. Given that foster care youth do not have someone look after them most of the time, they long for someone they can talk to. Therefore, it is your primary responsibility to listen to them. 

Make sure that you don’t treat foster youth as if they are an outsider. Let them know that you’ll always be there for them despite not being blood-related. Make foster care children feel comfortable by offering help whenever they have any problems or whenever they encounter difficulty adjusting. Allow foster care children to vent out their concern before giving your advice.

Offer mental health support because they need it. If necessary, you can also seek the help of mental health professionals or child welfare services. A mental health professional can promote child welfare for foster care kids. They can also conduct a mental health evaluation and provide mental health support where needed. These professional mental health services are necessary for kids in foster care.

Take Care Of Your Mental Health First

To be able to take care of the mental health needs of your foster care children, you have to take care of yourself and your well being first. You will only be able to fulfill your responsibility as a foster care parent fully if you’re as stable as you need to be. The best way to go about this is to find a support network. 

Believe it or not, being a foster care parent isolates you from the general population most of the time. The majority of the people do not understand how it works, and they are likely to judge you for offering your foster home. They’ll question your desire to house foster care children who are practically strangers to you. Having to deal with these questions about foster care can cause you to feel stressed and sad. Some foster care parents even develop a mental illness because of the stress.

how the brain works
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However, you are lucky to have other foster care parents who can fully understand where you are. Make sure to maintain constant connection and communication with them. It is vital to have people who can understand you and the challenges you’re facing with foster care.

Should you have questions on the technicalities of foster parenting, ask them for advice. If you feel the need to take a break, call them. This support group will be healthy for you and your child’s mental health in the long run.

Implement Positive Discipline In Conflict Resolutions With Foster Care Children

Foster care children experience extreme things throughout their lives. Therefore, there will always be instances where foster care youth will do something terrible and unacceptable. Their capacity to differentiate right from wrong might be a little rusty because of how they grew up. This means their mental and behavioral health are not at their best.

Always keep in mind that these children in foster care are doing their best. What they’re doing may not be aligned with your values, but you can always address them. Sufficient conflict resolution requires love and support, not punishment and stern discipline. This means offering mental and behavioral health care. Understand that corporal punishment may not be the best way to go because of the trauma they have faced in the past. 

Here’s how you should attack conflict resolution with children in foster care:

1. Understand The Behavior Of Your Children In Foster Care 

Deep dive into what makes them who children on foster care are and focus on that. If you don’t know the reason behind every move, it will be hard for you to solve it. 

2. Build A Solid Bond With Your Foster Care Youth

Be as open as possible, and do not keep secrets from them, especially if something is related to their identity. Once they trust you, it will be easier to talk to them and improve their mental and behavioral health.

3. Always Remain Calm With Foster Care Youth

There will always be instances where your foster care child will push you to your limits. However, losing your cool will only push them away. Always be gentle to foster care youth and never hurt them physically to discipline them. Child abuse is never the answer — child welfare, mental and behavioral health care are.

4. Reward Foster Care Youth

Whenever your foster care child does something good no matter how simple it is, make sure to reward them. This technique is what we call positive reinforcement, a part of mental and behavioral health care. If you show your appreciation to your foster care child, they’ll tend to do better. 

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Being A Foster Care Parent – A Challenging Role

It is not a surprise to others that being a foster parent is challenging to do. It demands a lot of sacrifice from youtime, money, commitment, and effort. Add to this the difficulty in ensuring that your foster care child’s physical and mental health are taken care of, not to mention behavioral health. But along with difficulty is a complement of a fulfilling emotion, especially when child welfare is met.

The fact that you’re providing an impact on a foster care child’s life should be enough to make you happy. It may be chaotic, messy, and unpredictable, but it is also gratifying, redemptive, and remarkable. These are feelings from foster care that most people won’t feel in a typical setup. As a foster parent, you’ll be lucky enough to experience these fantastic emotions. 


Does Placement In Foster Care Impact Individuals Psychological Wellness?

How Can I Improve My Child’s Psychological Wellness?

What Is The Importance Of Fostering Positive Psychological Wellness, Well-Being, And Child Welfare?

What Are The Benefits Of Good Psychological Wellness In Children?

How Can I Help My Kid If They Have Been Entangled With The Criminal Justice System?

What Is The Impact On Others Living With A Foster Care Child With Psychological Wellness Concerns?

What Measure Can Be Used To Predict Placement Instability In Foster Kids?

How Can You Achieve Positive Psychological Wellness And Good Well-Being?

What factors can have a positive effect on the health and wellbeing of children?

What is the importance of good mental health among the youth?

How can we prevent mental health issues in children?

How can children look after their mental health?

What are the emotional benefits of good mental health?

How can schools help children maintain their mental health?

How will you deal children affected with psychological and emotional issues?

How can we promote and protect mental health in child care?

Things You Should Never Say To A Foster Family

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Fostering can be a sensitive topic. It’s understandable if you’re unsure if it’s appropriate to ask questions or discuss something related to the situation. However, curiosity can lead to awkward, uncomfortable, and inappropriate queries. For everyone’s reference, here are things you shouldn’t say or do around foster families.

Don’t Bad-Mouth The Biological Families

When someone meets foster kids, they tend to make assumptions about their biological families. Every child comes from different circumstances and is in a different situation. The system may have taken some children out of their homes due to abusive families.

However, some may be unable to take care of their families due to mental illness, financial struggles, and other reasons. Some biological parents will even be able to get their kids back later on. It is incredibly insensitive to judge the foster child’s biological family. It can also be hurtful to badmouth the parents in front of the kids.

Further, their backstory is confidential. Foster parents will be unable to share that much information in the first place. Please don’t assume what their life was like before being in the system.

Don’t Ask Us About Money Matters

Okay, it isn’t always inappropriate to discuss finances. However, some people hold the assumption that foster parents make money by taking care of the kids. First of all, they’re not babysitters, and fostering isn’t for profit. There is no monetary gain to it.

While the state may provide some funds for the child’s needs, it isn’t always enough. Some parents will have to shoulder some expenses personally. Foster care isn’t or shouldn’t be something people get into to make money.

Don’t Tell The Kids They’re Lucky To Have Foster Parents

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Children in the system, even with caring foster families, are far from “lucky.” It can be quite tone-deaf to say that they are such.

Imagine strange adults coming into your home one day and taking you from your parents. You have no warning, and you have no idea what’s going on. These strangers then bring you to other people you don’t know. They then tell you that these unfamiliar adults will be taking care of you from now on. That doesn’t sound like such a lucky situation anymore.

You can be happy that they’ve found a compassionate family to live with temporarily. However, this toxic positivity can be harmful, pressuring people to be cheerful or find a silver lining.

“Just like something that is done in excess, when positivity is used to mask or silence the human experience, it becomes lethal. By not allowing the existence of certain feelings, we fall into a state of denial and repressed emotions,” explains Jamie Long, PsyD.

Don’t Tell Us We Should Adopt The Kids

Unfortunately, not everyone understands that there’s a difference between fostering and adopting. A kid in foster care does not automatically go through the process of adoption. Being a foster child can be a temporary arrangement. Their legal guardian also maintains full parental rights over their kids. These children can then later go back to their biological families.

You shouldn’t tell foster parents to adopt the kids because this decision isn’t up to them. They don’t get to decide whether they can do so, or even if they’ll be up for adoption first place. It may also give the children a false sense of hope. It can even cause distress for them, thinking that they’ll never see their biological family again. 

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Don’t Ask Us If We Can Bring Them Back

Keep in mind that you’re talking about a human being, not an object you can return to a store. These kids may have issues and troubles, but those challenges should never be a reason to get rid of them.

Foster children need someone to stand by them and look after the mental health of your foster child, even when they act up. It’s also the same for someone’s biological kids. You wouldn’t put them up for adoption because you have difficulty dealing with them, would you? Why should kids in foster care be any different?

Don’t Offer Unsolicited Advice

Unless someone asks for advice, it isn’t always polite or appropriate to offer it up. Such is true even in situations when someone is dealing with their biological kids. Everyone has their parenting style, and kids will react and receive it differently. What may work for your family may not be the best for another.

Don’t Tell Us How Difficult It Must Be

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Trust us; foster parents already know how challenging their situation can be. There are several rules they have to follow. There’s also the attachment they might feel and the hurt when their foster kids go back. Raising children is a trial in general. They don’t need a reminder.

Instead of talking about how it might be difficult for them, discuss something helpful instead. Ask about how you can help around. Let your friends vent about their problems and struggles as a foster family.

Conclusion: Discussing Foster Families

It’s best when people make an effort to learn more about fostering. It’s also helpful to read up on things that may be inappropriate to say to these families. Things like talking negatively about biological parents, calling the kids lucky, and talking about making money are colossal no-no’s. If you’re ever unsure what may be insensitive, you can always ask if it’s okay to know.



Helping Without Conditions During The Pandemic Lockdown

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I knew the risks, and I was fully aware of what I was doing, but the mother in me just could not leave two homeless children out in the rain. And there is this thing with COVID-19. In my mind, at that time, almost three months ago, on the streets of New York City, I was battling with leaving them alone or taking them with me. You know the answer to it now, I am assuming. Yes, I brought with me two teenage boys who could either hurt me or care for me. I just asked guidance from the Almighty since I told him that I wanted to help the boys. I was so sure that they needed me.

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