Understanding the Unique Needs of Children with Developmental Disabilities in Foster Care

Statistics show that a loving, encouraging environment can increase the number of positive outcomes and improve the quality of life for foster children with I/DD.

While national studies of foster care outcomes do not currently exist, statistics show that of the hundreds of thousands of children in the system, one-third to two-thirds of them have some kind of disability. Being in the foster care system as a child with disabilities often results in increased risks of instability, homelessness, maltreatment, institutionalization, and unemployment. Without the right support systems, these children are not getting the unique education and medical care they need. The solution to the problem is loving families open to foster care for children with disabilities.

Reversing the Risks Children with Disabilities Face in Foster Care

For people considering fostering children with intellectual or developmental disabilities, the experience is rewarding. You not only enrich their lives by providing them with a positive, loving environment, but you also help them get access the care they need to live better lives. By fostering a child with disabilities, you can reverse the likelihood of them experiencing these common scenarios:

With the right training and resources, you can foster a child who needs life-changing opportunities. Whether the child has challenges with communication, socialization, or motor skills, becoming their foster parent can make you a hero in their eyes as you help meet their needs.

Enriching Your Foster Child’s Life

Fostering a child with developmental disabilities requires a big commitment. It is essential to know what to expect prior to taking on the responsibility in order to increase your chances of being successful. The following are some things you can do to ensure that you are prepared to provide your foster child with a loving environment that encourages their development:

  1. Look for community resources. There is a wealth of community resources available for foster parents. Many of these resources help you find free medical care and put you in touch with groups and programs that can provide you with advice about effectively managing your family.
  2. Continue to work with your case managers. Many foster placement agencies in Arkansas provide families with case managers who are experts in assisting families throughout the process. They help you build a care plan for each child so you have the systems in place to support them. Additionally, their experience and knowledge helps you build a network of medical professionals that are capable of providing your child with the treatment they need.
  3. Educate your child’s educators. Foster children with disabilities often need additional educational assistance, but most educators are unaware of the most effective techniques to use in teaching them. Even if your child’s teachers have special education training, every child has unique needs that require some shifting away from certain “norms.” After educating yourself about your child’s learning style, you can help your child’s school and teachers tailor a plan that aligns with the way your child learns. As their educational advocate, you can help influence your child’s potential outcomes.

Abuse and neglect occur too often in families unwilling or incapable of giving children with disabilities the unique care they need. Children with disabilities in the foster care system experience much more positive outcomes when a loving family cares for them. If you are considering becoming a foster parent, contact Integrity, Inc. at 501-406-0442 to learn how you can get involved in our programs.

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