Childhood is supposed to be an enjoyable period of life, but unfortunately for some children, it can be filled with pain and suffering. One of the most difficult predicaments these children face is being removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect by their parents and then placed into foster care.

Being a foster child is not easy; in fact, it can be extremely difficult. Many children who are taken from their homes and placed into foster care must adjust to a whole new family and environment after years of neglect or abuse in their original household. Often times the causes of what lead families to neglect or abuse their children remains unclear, so it places even greater stress on the foster home as they attempt to help these children heal.

In recent years, studies have shown that nearly two hundred thousand American children were living in foster homes at the end of 2014 alone (Bartlett). This number has continued to climb year after year as more and more families are overwhelmed with the stress of raising children, which often leads to neglect or abuse. The number of children in foster care is extremely high and it shows no sign of slowing down due to an apparent lack of support for families struggling with raising children.

The challenges faced by families who take on these neglected orphans are numerous. A major challenge they face is that many children enter into the foster system already traumatized from their experiences at home, so it can be very difficult to help them feel safe enough to open up about what has happened.

Another major challenge these children face is the fear of abandonment. Many of these children have already experienced neglect or abuse by their parents in their home life, so being placed in a new environment with strangers can cause them to fear they will be abandoned once again. This fear makes it extremely difficult for the child to trust the adults caring for them in the foster home.

One last major challenge foster children face is learning how to function in society with their peers. Due to the fact that many foster care children have experienced neglect or abuse, they often times struggle in social situations and do not know how to interact with others on a normal basis (Bartlett). These children often become extremely withdrawn and are unable to handle difficult situations, which can lead to violent outbursts if their behavior is not altered by the caretakers in their foster home. Many experts have suggested that teaching education classes on basic social skills could help provide these children with the guidance they need to function better in social settings (Dickmeyer & Cook).

One major strategy used by families who take in foster children is providing them with a stable environment. Foster children should be provided with a strong foundation early on in their lives, so they can learn how to trust others and give them the stability they need to grow into normal functioning adults.

Another strategy used by families who take in foster care children is providing them with structure. When studies were conducted on multi-ethnic American youth it was found that “the number of transitions (i.e., moving from one home to another) was associated with more truancy, school suspension, increased interpersonal problems”(Zigler 6), showing that without appropriate guidelines set up for these children they are prone to have difficulty in school and social situations where rules are not enforced correctly.

It is important for children placed in foster homes to understand when certain things are appropriate and when they aren’t. Many of these children have never been taught that certain rules exist in the household, so it is important for foster parents to make sure they set up clear guidelines and follow through with them. This way, the child knows what behavior will be expected from them and can determine whether or not their actions are appropriate or not.