Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of being a foster parent is the moment when our child from foster care leaves our homes. As a foster parent, our home becomes a place where children placed in the foster care system come for a period of time, with the goal of being reunited with their family in the near future.
Children living with relatives often receive the short end of the stick -- regularly lacking health benefits, access to programs and college grants received by other foster youth -- but, seemingly, no one knows or cares to discuss the topic. Often, the media discusses foster care, yet does not go into the deeper complexities of the confusing child welfare system.
When President Obama recognized May 2015 as National Foster Care Month, his Proclamation honored "those who dedicate themselves to making a difference." As the month draws to a close, those of us working in the foster care trenches need to take a hard look at where we are still failing these children.
Children who come into foster care often have been exposed to multiple traumatic events including the removal from their families, and may be at higher risk for mental health problems and emotional disorders. Too often multiple medications may be used without other kinds of effective treatments that might better address the underlying trauma children are experiencing.