Every child deserves happiness and stability. Sometimes children are born into situations or families that are unable to provide these two things for them. When a family or parent is unable to provide for a child, the child ends up either with other relatives, homeless, or into the foster care system which is temporary placement for a minor to be given care by a certified caregiver of the state also known as a foster parent. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, more than 250,000 children enter the foster care system every year and 60% of these children cannot return home.
Since these child are ntering different homes where someone who is not their own parent is supposed to be taking care of them, the child tend to have behavioral issues. Many of their behavioral issues come from lack of stability and lack of attention from their biological parents so the children enter these new temporary homes with a mindset of distrust and the want for attention. Although the child may have behavioral issues, every child hopes there is a family willing to take them in permanently which would be adoption.
This provides stability and a sense of family ties that is not given by foster care. When a family is considering adopting a child, they take into account things like the age of the child and behavior. Infants and younger children are more likely to become adopted as opposed to a teenager just because the adoptive parent can raise the child as their own and if behavior issues occur, they know where they came from, whereas a teenager can be erratic and rebellious because they don’t want to listen to their adoptive parent.
Also children with mental health diagnoses are less likely to be adopted because of the emotional and financial cost of supporting that child (Connell, Katz, Saunders, & Tebes, 2006; Zinn, 2009). In this study, we are looking at what factors can help children with mental and behavioral issues become adopted and can intervention of these symptoms help increase the chances of adoption. We also discussed whether or not interventions for the children increase their likelihood to become adopted and whether internalized behavior problems such a depression and anxiety predict foster home integration or adoption.
These hypothesis help is determine what factors are essential for a child to go from a foster child to an adopted child with a permanent family. For the study conducted, the data was used from an adaptation of Chamberlain’s Keeping Foster Parent Trained and Supported Intervention with children in a large child welfare agency in an urban area. To be eligible for the study, children had to be in a foster home that received a specialized foster care rate for children ages four through twelve. Also these children had to have documented behavioral, medical, and developmental needs.
Once the children met the qualifications for the study, they were split into two teams. One of the contained 13 children ho were in the treatment-as-usual and the other 18 were the children assigned to the intervention group. The difference in the number of children was due to preventing contamination of the control group because so of the caseworkers had provided services to some of the children. Foster parents of the children who ranged from ages 24 to 60 with low to moderate income participated in the study also. Out of the 30 that qualified, 25 parent participated.
Fifteen parents were in the intervention group and 10 of them were in the control group. The parents had the right to refuse services and remain in the study. The parents and caseworkers received interviews four times within the 12 month period the study lasted and were paid for $40 to $50 for each interview. The interventions had either 16 sessions that were 90-minutes for the foster parents at the agency that most of the foster parents attended or 16 home visits that cover the same material. These session discussed how to effectively encourage, communicate and cooperative.
After this study was conducted, for children’s foster home integration, the foster parents assessed integration as very high with a mean value of 4. 5 on a 5 point scale. Caseworkers also assessed it and it was significantly lower. Foster home integration did not increase for either of them over the study period, but it slightly increased for the children in the intervention group. Integration was reported at time 1 as being 4. 47 (SD=. 48) in the control group and 4. 52 (SD=. 56) for the intervention group. At time 3, the final integration status was 4. (SD=. 95) for the control group and 4. 71 (SD=. 45) for the intervention group. For Adoption likelihood, foster parents assessed at time 3 that the likelihood of adopting was 2. 22(SD=. 1. ) for the control group and 2. 61 (SD=1. 33) for the intervention group. For reunification, the chance were lower compared to adoption.
Reunification was rated 67% unlikely to happen for the foster children. For behavior problems the foster children’s level of behavior was very high at 73% having externalizing problems with a mean value of 61. 8 (SD 10. 48) for intervention group and 69. 17 (SD=5. 6). Internalized problems were 52. 38 (SD=11. 59) and 59. 33 (SD=11. 22). Most of the foster children were taking psychotropic medications and 60% of the children were on anti-psychotics. Of the foster children, 47% were on Risperdol and Abilify while 17% were on antidepressants. Also 84% of the children were in individual therapy at least once a week. In this study, the researchers looked at whether the behavior problems affected the foster home integration and adoption likelihood.
The results were that higher foster home integration and externalizing behaviors predicted adoption but in this study, behavioral intervention did not affect integration or adoption. Externalizing behaviors were associated with lower integration in the foster homes. Integration can be affected by the child’s openness to the new caregivers but it may become hard for the child to trust or rely on any one especially since their own biological parents didn’t provide that for them.
Behavior intervention affected behavior problems significantly but it didn’t affect adoption or foster home integration. In this study, the researchers evaluated foster home integration adoption and behavior problems. One limitation of this were the sample size. This sample size could have easily been a biased one meaning that this study cannot be done of just this ne group of people and it determine the status or the likelihood of adoption for all foster child around the world.
It didn’t provide enough data to just apply these finding to the general population and the foster parent were not randomly applied to this study, they were the foster parents of the children in the study. This study did not do a follow up study for the family after six months to see if any may have changed. After interventions, and the children realizing that they have the potential to become adopted, many children, may have changed their behavior. After receiving care and genuine love rom their foster parents, the child may change their external behaviors.
I think the background of which the children came from should have been considered. We need to know that if the child’s had a loving family and they died so that’s how they ended up in the foster care system or if the child’s parents neglected them and this is causing their behavioral issues. Also the study did not state the ethnicity of the children nor the foster parents which could also cause behavior problems. I really thought this study was very relevant. I feel that many people don’t consider the condition of child become they decide o become caregivers for them.
Also from knowing many foster children growing up it is hard to determine whether the family is genuinely trying to take care of the child because they are wonderful people or if they are doing it to receive the benefits the government provides for the family when they have a foster child in their custody. This study focused mainly on whether behavior problems affected integration and if integration affected adoption but didn’t focus on why these behavior problems existed and what the extent or root of these problems was which I feel could also affect adoption.