How to Support a Foster Child with Depression


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Children who have been placed in foster homes have a higher prevalence of depression than other juveniles. They have been exposed to abuse, abandonment, neglect, or a combination of these three traumas. Studies show that this depression will likely follow the foster child into adulthood. Additionally, each time they are placed with a new family, they grieve the loss of previous relationships and must adapt to new homes.

As a foster parent, you want to give the child a better chance of happiness and stability in the future, which is why you signed up for the job. So, we have put together some tips to help you provide the support your foster child needs if suffering from depression.

Recognising the Signs of Depression

The first step towards helping your foster child with depression is being able to recognise the signs and symptoms.The physical signs are as follows:

  • Disturbed sleeping patterns could be exhibited as sleeping too much, not enough, struggling to fall asleep, or broken sleep. Whether or not the child has trouble sleeping, fatigue is a common sign of depression.
  • The child may battle to concentrate, and this could affect academic performance.
  • Changes in appetite and weight also signal a depressed state.
  • Some depressed children experience physical pain of unknown cause.

Mental symptoms of depression are sometimes evinced by a lot of crying and being in a low mood. On the other hand, your foster child may display anger that is quickly aroused and react to inconsequential matters with irritability. These children, when depressed, are more sensitive to perceived criticism or rejection. They will also withdraw from social and family events and show a preference for being alone. Depressed foster kids sometimes take on feelings of guilt without a basis.

Helping Your Foster Child with Depression

Keep in touch with the child’s social worker to gain context and inform them of any changes in your foster child’s environment or behaviour. The social worker can help you grasp the causes of the child’s mental state.

Maintain an open channel of communication with your foster child. Encourage them to describe their feelings and you should validate these emotions. If they have concerns you can address, make the effort to provide what they need. See that the rest of the family is supportive of whatever the child is experiencing. Arrange activities for the whole family that reduces isolation and gets your foster child involved.

Choosing a Good Foster Service

Once you have made the decision to foster a child, it is time to explore foster agencies, such as fostering in Wolverhampton. A good foster service will provide you with adequate training to know how to care for your foster child. They will give you a comprehensive background and information for dealing with specific issues. The agency will have a backup team that is available to you 24/7 in case you need assistance or advice.

Foster agencies also need to ensure that foster kids with mental health problems such as depression continue to receive appropriate treatment outside the foster home and that this therapy continues as they move between foster parents.

Choosing to foster a child is a generous act, even though you will be paid for your services.

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