Even after you have made the decision to foster/adopt, there are remaining crucial decisions. Some we make in consultation with you, some are choices for you to make. The most meaningful questions have to do with what we call “continuity”.
If you have committed to foster a child, it is likely you have put yourself in the place of a boy or girl separated from parents and siblings. Indeed, the psychological shock of that separation has even been associated with an increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To support a child of any age in this situation, it is crucial to create as much continuity as possible. Thus, here are some crucial decisions that come into play.
If possible, we strive for consistency with placements in a qualified foster family within his or her own community. Think of what that means. Along with separation from family, the child does not face simultaneous separation from friends, school, local relatives, or church. Community continuity provides an array of support in terms of people, places, and programs.
A decision for you is whether or not you are willing to take siblings. Imagine the difference it makes to the child without his parents to live with brothers and sisters. However, this is not always possible. When it is, the child is buffered from the shock of parental loss.
Biological Parents Staying in Touch
A different choice arises when a child’s parents are living and within visiting distance from the foster family. When conditions permit it, the Texas Foster Initiative encourages the biological family to stay in touch with the foster child. Conditionally, TFI must ascertain that the biological family is not a threat to the child or foster family. In consultation with the foster family, TFI must decide how many contacts may benefit the foster child while still feasible for the foster family.
Learn More About Continuity for Foster Children
TFI’s goal, providing there are no insurmountable barriers, is to reunite the foster child with their biological family. Foster families know this from the beginning, and the continuity described above can contribute to success.
To help you work through issues raised here, or any aspect of fostering, our professionals are available. Feel free to contact us.