How Can We Make Life In School Easier For Foster Care Children?

bookshelves and desks in a school classroom

Every child deserves a happy, healthy and secure life. There is nothing more painful than coming across a child who has experienced misery and trauma all their life due to abuse and neglect. Children are so vulnerable and innocent, they're brought into a world where they need protecting until they're able to look after themselves. Unfortunately, many babies are born into chaotic lifestyles, sometimes by parents who are suffering with mental health issues meaning they can't properly care for them, and other times it's substance abuse issues. Sometimes they're not safeguarded and are left around dangerous people. One of the best ways to give these children a chance for a better life is by getting them placed in a foster care home legally. According to Lisa Witter from PerpetualFostering.co.uk, foster agencies usually have a lengthy assessment process that results in them taking longer to provide placements. This is to ensure that the children are in the right hands where they’ll get the necessary love, care, support and guidance to help them become healthy and productive individuals. 

Education of children in foster care could prove to be difficult as most of them don’t consider school and education as a priority. Most of these children feel alone and different at school. Their priority is survival, whether it is a survival from their difficult past or survival from living apart from their biological family. Children in foster care spend more time with their teachers than their foster parents. Hence, teachers need to give these children motivation, encouragement, and support to become positive and productive individuals. What are the different ways by which you can extend support to foster care children in schools? 

Lessons On Foster Care 
Children in schools need to have an understanding of the foster care and adoption system to become supportive of children who come from a foster care home. Including lessons and books on foster care is the best way to give students the necessary awareness of this system. The support and encouragement extended by fellow students will help the foster children feel secure in their school environment. 

Deal Social Issues With Understanding 
Foster care children often seem withdrawn and anxious and can find it really difficult in socialising with their classmates or peer groups. This difficulty is the result of trauma and misery they've undergone most part of their lives. In certain cases, they could also become aggressive or angry with their teachers or school mates. Teachers need to be understanding of the situation and give them encouragement and guidance to help them get over their fears and anxiety and develop the necessary social skills. 

Make An Effort To Develop Trust 
Foster children have often undergone severe verbal and physical abuse from the very people who are supposed to give them a safe, happy and secure environment. Their parents! Hence, they find it really difficult when it comes to trusting an adult and building a good relationship with them. As a result, most of the foster children struggle in building and maintaining positive relationships with their teachers. Teachers need to extend their love, care, and support to these children avoiding criticism and being judgemental. 

Teachers can influence a foster child tremendously by being a good role model and extending academic and personal support. This is essential to build their self-esteem, to help them perform to the best of their ability academically and to be successful in their lives.

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