Foster Care System vs. Addiction
12/10/18: Addiction \ Alcohol Addiction \ Drug Addiction
Each year, there are more than 250,000 children that are put into the foster care system. Parents pass away, the child is abandoned, or parents can’t financially support a child and have to send him or her to foster care. Foster care is a system that is in place to give these children the possibility of a better life, but nobody wants to stay in the foster care system, everyone wants a family to call their own. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. About 23,000 of these children are never able to have a family, so they eventually grow out of foster care.
The foster care system is in place to give these children a home, a loving family, and a better life. Children do find homes with families who show them love and affection, but others are less fortunate. Other families have shown abusive behaviors to these foster children and leave them with physical and/or mental scars. But this is not the only challenge that the foster care system faces. Drug addiction and alcohol is a major challenge that the system, and people in it, face.
Addiction is a disease that many people in this country suffer from. It is a disease that that develops from alcohol/drug abuse and it makes it extremely difficult for someone to stop using a substance. They become extremely dependent on the substance they are abusing and can cause many negative consequences. Addiction affects a person’s health, well-being, and their entire life. Unfortunately, those in foster care are no strangers to this either.
Drug Abuse by Youth in Foster Care
Each year, there are over ¼ of a million children that are put into foster care. Statistics show us that the lack of a family structure may result in a lower chance of a child in foster care getting a college degree when they grow up. The lack of a strong family dynamic can result in lower motivation, lack of education, and work ethic. A lack of education, motivation, and work ethic can even lead to getting mixed up in the wrong lifestyle. Statistics show us that more than 34% of children that are in the foster care wind up battling with alcohol or drug addiction. Normally, if this addiction is discovered while the child is in foster care, they may be relocated to another foster home. Being bounced around from home to home without any real family can cause a child to feel alone and depressed. When they want to cope with these feelings, this is when substance abuse can occur. In this post, we will go over the challenges that foster children face and what they can do to them.
Foster children often face stress from a lot of different things in their life. The weight of having to appeal to possible families and the constant fear of not getting a family can have some serious mental strain on a child. Without a good family structure and no figure to tell them right from wrong, they may end up resorting to alcohol or drugs in order to cope with the stress they have.
Addiction is an issue that can be passed down through family genes. If a child’s biological parent suffered from addiction before they were born, the disease may be passed on, making the child more susceptible to substance abuse. Even the families that choose to adopt these children may be suffering from addiction. A foster family member that suffers from addiction may cause some serious turmoil in a foster child’s life. The foster child is looking for a better life with a family, but they can’t get that if the new family has problems with addiction. Some foster children wind up being placed in foster families that struggle with addiction and oftentimes cause physical and mental harm to the child. Through the mental and physical abuse they receive from these families, the child can develop mental illnesses and behavioral issues. Foster children that go through family dynamics like this can succumb to depression, anxiety, resentment towards others, poor cognitive skills, trauma, and anger. Extreme feelings like these are huge factors that influence someone to fall victim to addiction.
Foster children oftentimes move from home to home and can live in very inconsistent environments. Moving around from home to home means no consistent friends, family or living environment. An ever-changing life can have an extremely negative effect on a child’s academic performance and can lead to behavioral issues. This can be another thing that causes addiction.
Leaving Foster Care
At a certain point, a child needs to leave foster care, they cannot be in it forever. Without a family to support them, they will need to be self-sufficient and secure their own means of living. There are only 50% of youth in foster care leave after they turn 18 and are able to secure a job. 20% of these children wind up being homeless because they cannot support themselves. A situation like this can leave a foster youth with unbearable amounts of stress. This stress and depression aren’t easy to cope with, but they may resort to drug and alcohol abuse in order to cope.
Drug and alcohol addiction is no joke, it can have some serious effects on a person. It is unfortunate to see this problem affecting foster youth. It’s sad to think that not only are these children without families, but they are also highly susceptible to addiction. It is crucial to spread awareness about the effects that addiction can have on someone and how susceptible foster children are to it.
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