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State care provides good care for young people outside their home by other individuals, other than their adoptive or biological parents or legal guardians (Simon Newton Dexter North, 2001). All young people who get detached from their biological or adoptive parents, and those removed from other legal guardians, get placed in state care in a range of settings. They may be put under the care of relatives other than members of the family who may be involved in abuse or neglect. Also, these people may be placed in the care of non-relatives, treatment foster care or therapeutic, group home or an institution (Anneli Anttonen, 2003). People who take care for these young people can be referred as foster parents.
Many young people especially children, get in the state care due to various reasons. In many cases, these young people experience sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglected from their homes, state care place these people in a safe environment. Only a small percentage of young people get into state care due to their parents inability to control them (Stein, 2008). Some children get into state care because their parents or legal guardians have neglected them, or because their parents or legal guardians may not be able to take care of them due to incarceration, substance abuse, or mental health problems. In such cases, these young people may be placed under state care while their parents or legal guardians receive counseling, treatment, or finish their sentences (Sonya Michel, 2002). In all state care cases, parents or the guardians of the child give up a temporary legal custody of their child. Young people may be put in the state custody with the consent of the parent. On the other hand, a court can give an order to place the child under the state care without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian, in case there is a clear case of neglect or abuse (Shaw, 2010).
In the state care, the government ensures that a child gets good care, for example, if the government makes a decision that require a child to be removed from the home, he/she may be placed under the care of relatives or family friends. Also, they may be placed in group home, where several children under the state foster care live together with the caregivers’ staff. These homes may be referred as foster homes. Treatment or Therapeutical foster care can be in a foster home or group home that have specific treatment, and structure focus (Hayden, 1999). In a case like this, foster homes are the best and well-known option. Children placed under the state care temporary become part of another new family either with other children under the state foster care, relatives, or alone (Mono Chakrabarti, 1999). In the state care, social services agencies in the state or county, administer state care decisions, although these agencies may also work in collaboration with private foundations.
Additionally, In the state care, foster parents must be licensed by social services agencies dealing with the state care programmes (Mark E. Courtney, 2009). Additionally, the foster home where the children placed on state care live, must pass a health and safety inspection, and in many states, foster parents must attend training sessions. Though training, foster parents learn proper ways of handling and dealing with various problems, which may affect young people placed under the state care. When a child is placed in state care, the foster family is charged with the responsibility of providing food and clothing to the child, as well as getting him or her to school, appointments among other duties that the child’s parent or guardian would do. Additionally, the foster parent endeavors to meet the Therapist of the foster child as well as the child’s case worker. This is because, the aim of the foster parent involves providing an ample opportunity for the foster child to develop normally in safe family environment.
Common Problems that young people face in state care
In most cases, young people placed in state care have gone through some forms of neglect or abuse. Although state care provides safe and healthy environment to children, being detached from the familiar surroundings may be very traumatic in the mind of young people under state care. As a result of this trauma, young people placed in the state foster protection may sometimes experience nightmares, become depressed, confused, and angry or have problems in sleeping and eating (Mary Ellen O'Connell, 2009). Young people, especially young children placed in the state foster care do not understand the reasons why they got taken from their biological or adoptive parents. Although the child may feel relieved for being out of the home that perceived to be a dangerous place, the child may still miss home and his or her parents or guardians. As a result, these young people may start to imagine that they should do something in order to get back to their parents and legal guardians.
In many cases, it is evident that young people placed under state foster care because of coming from neglectful and abusive homes start to feel comfortable in state care (Kaul, 2002). However, separation from their parents or guardians is always difficult for almost all young people placed under state foster care, regardless of the circumstances that made them to be taken away from their biological or biological parents, or guardians. Therefore, they may be lonely and stressed since they do not receive any parental care from their own parents.
Additionally, half of the children placed in the state care spend as much as 2 years in state foster care, and then get moved from one placement to another at least three times (Dorota Iwaniec, 2000). This leads to uncertainty and lack of stability in his or her life. Some of these placements may not be appropriate for specific circumstances of the child (Iwaniec, 2006). In many cases, this may be due to lack of licensed and qualified foster care givers, but it can also take place because of overloaded and inexperienced caseworkers who try to get through their caseloads.
On the side of the foster parents, state foster care may be a difficult task to them as well. This is because, a child who has been abused or neglected suffers psychological damage which can make him or her aggressive, withdrawn, immature or difficult to reach (Brown, 2009). Children who may have serious medical and mental problems make the work of the caregivers very hard. The main reason as to why foster placements fail sometimes is because, these surrogate parents cannot be able to handle the demands of the troubled child placed under the state foster care.
On the other hand, young people who “age out,” or attain the age of 18 years and move from state foster care to live independently, may face a lot of problems in the society. This is because, many young people mark time within the child welfare system without sufficient preparation for the change to adulthood. Unfortunately, very few social services agencies provide employment opportunities for the young people who move out of state care. Only, less than 20 percent of social services agencies offer employment and career assessments, also, the social services agencies that offer job-training cannot exceed 20 percent, while very few agencies provide vocational training to the young people.
Without assistance, young people who move out of state foster care never go on to college, and in case they find jobs, they get poor jobs in terms of remuneration and working conditions. As a result of these problems, young people who move out of the state foster care after attain the required age, may become vulnerable to bad influences on the streets. This means that, these young people may start engaging themselves in criminal activities due to lack of jobs. If they do not get any help from the social services agencies on how they can get jobs in order to cater for their basic needs and become independent, they may engage in unlawful activities in search for their daily bread. On the other hand, if social services agencies do not give jobs to these people or help them to get jobs in other agencies, their children may also be placed on the state foster care (child welfare system) just as they did. In order to break this cycle, adequate counseling, training and preparation can be appropriate (Meese, 2009).
In addition, many young people from the state foster care experience more challenges emotionally, financially, and developmentally. In 2004, the research carried out by Child Welfare League of America proved that, many young people in state foster care had more health and development problems, than those children who come from the similar economic circumstances, but lived with their biological or adoptive parents or guardians (James G. Barber, 2004). Also, young people placed in the state foster care have more abuse, neglect, family dysfunction, emotional problems and poverty. This may be a direct outcome of the reasons for the initial placement, but these circumstances carry on throughout the foster care.
Another problem experienced by young people placed in the state foster care, may be due to the fact that some care placements are made by families that are not financially stable; this means that, people who cannot afford their children’s medical or psychological services (Susan Barton, 2011). This may contain severe social or mental disorder or multiple disabilities that depleted both financial and emotional resources of the family. These problems may still affect the future lives of the young people placed on the state foster care if not addressed appropriately.