5 Misconceptions About the

Foster Care System

FOSTER CARE MYTH: You don't know anyone in the foster care system

Any given year, 400,000+ children are in the U.S. foster care system, so you likely know someone who is or was "adjudicated dependent," meaning the court oversees key aspects of a child's life. Not everyone likes to talk about their life in foster care, but at least one famous athlete has publicly discussed her experiences: Olympic gold medal gymnast Simone Biles.

She wrote a 2018 opinion piece about education and the foster care system. 

FOSTER CARE MYTH: Foster kids have no birth parents

Being a foster kid and being orphaned are not synonymous. For example, children often come into care because their parents are struggling with their mental health or drug addiction. Goals are set to create a stable, healthy home for the whole family to reunite in. About 60% of KidsVoice's cases end in reunification.

FOSTER CARE MYTH: Foster parents are replacing biological ones

Foster parents should recognize the importance of birth family. Being in foster care does not mean that a child doesn't come from a loving home. In Pennsylvania, kids have the right to see their parents at least every two weeks while in foster care. These visits can be important for the well-being of the child and working toward reunification.

FOSTER CARE MYTH: Foster parents are always "strangers"

Kinship care is a type of foster care where children are placed with an adult who has an existing relationship with them. This may be an aunt or uncle, grandparent, adult sibling, or even a coach, pastor, or other familiar figure. Kinship care is always explored before placement with non-relatives. More than 65% of KidsVoice clients who are removed from their parents are placed in kinship care, compared to 32% nationally.

FOSTER CARE MYTH: Older foster kids don't want to be in your home

Most youth in the child-welfare system share one thing: trauma. Because of this, they may have trouble processing emotions, trusting new people, or adjusting to structure and change, but that doesn't mean they aren't trying or don't want a stable, loving home. In fact, many older foster children have blossomed with the right foster parents.

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