Why children come into care
Children and young people come into the care of state government departments when their parents and family are unable to provide a safe home for them. This can be for a very short period of a few days or for most of their childhood until they reach 18 years of age.
Children who come into care are likely to have suffered physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse, or neglect. Indeed neglect is the main reason children come into care. This means the child’s basic needs for safety and care have not been met at home.
Why does this happen?
It can be hard to understand why parents harm their children or cannot keep them safe. Many times, parents who fail to give their child the care and safety they need have themselves suffered abuse and neglect as children. Parents may be suffering from their own trauma, from mental and physical health issues, family violence, or from substance abuse.
Whatever the reason, the safety and wellbeing of the child is the paramount consideration and children will not return home until parents have made the changes to their lives that are required before they resume parenting responsibilities.
How might a child in care behave?
Experiencing trauma impacts on the brain development of children. They learn not to trust adults and to be alert always for danger. They may act out their distress with angry behaviour that is hard to understand. They may withdraw and be very quiet and compliant, holding in their hurt and distress.
At Key Assets, our social workers collaborate with foster carers in building their understanding of the child in their care and to respond in a way that helps the child heal from trauma. Many children who come into care have big emotions that overwhelm them. The foster carer plays a crucial role in helping the child or young person manage these emotions. This can take a long time so patience, persistence, and resilience are essential.
Background of Children in Care
Children and young people in care come from a variety of backgrounds. They come from a range ethnicities, reflecting the Australian population at large. There are a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in care. Children may have a single parent and be an only child or come from a large extended family.
Children and young people in care are all different with their own individual needs. We need foster cares who value and respect diversity and are able to welcome into their home children who may be of very different background and life experience to their own family.