Foster children have often had a tough start to life. Their family environment may not be suitable or safe, and it’s common for foster kids to have experienced emotional stress before being taken into foster care.
All children deserve to feel happy and safe. At Anglicare Victoria, our aim is to improve the emotional and mental wellbeing of vulnerable children by providing them with a safe environment and caring foster parents.
Foster care training
Before you become a foster carer, you’ll complete 16 hours of mandatory training. In this training, you’ll learn a lot about the emotional and mental wellbeing of foster kids, and how to manage children who may have suffered neglect or abuse.
Building resilience in foster children
Building resilience in foster children is directly related to supporting their emotional wellbeing; increased resilience leads to a better mental wellbeing for foster kids.
There are three main building blocks to help foster kids build resilience and overcome previous stressful experiences: 1) relational security, 2) efficacy and self-esteem and 3) emotional regulation.
- Relational security
Relational security is all about having a trustworthy, nurturing adult to help support and build resilience in a foster child. Children are more empowered to overcome traumatic experiences when they have relational security with a nurturing adult. Having a nurturing, responsive caretaker is the greatest factor in providing support and assurance for a foster child, and the most important way to help overcome trauma and build resilience.
- Emotional Resilience and self-esteem
One of the principles to building resilience in foster children is self-esteem and the belief that they are ‘good enough’. Foster children who have had a tough start to life are more vulnerable in this area than children who have been raised in nurturing family environments.
Therefore, it’s your duty as a foster carer to encourage worth and self-esteem in foster children. When a child achieves something, no matter the size of the task, it positively reinforces the idea that they’re able to do things. For example, maltreated children who experience a success in some form or another, such as academics, sport, music or similar activities, are more likely to overcome the effects of a traumatic experience.
Building resilience by positive reinforcement can therefore be practiced in a range of ways. When a foster child achieves something, and you tell them they did a great job, you’re supporting their emotional resilience.
- Emotional regulation
Regulating the emotions of foster children who’ve experienced neglect or abuse can be challenging, but making progress is commonly said to be the most rewarding part of being a foster parent.
Through increased relational security and positive reinforcement, making progress in emotional regulation is made possible. A foster carer must be constantly aware of the impact that trauma may have had on a foster child, and the reasons they behave the way they do. Approaching emotional regulation through the prism of understanding and empathy, rather than anger and reproachfulness, is essential.
The power of foster carers
Foster carers have the power to positively impact a child’s emotional and mental wellbeing. By employing these practices, you can gradually build resilience in foster children and give them the emotional tools they need to succeed in life.
Contact your local agency today
If you’re passionate about making a significant impact within the community, Anglicare Victoria is here to guide you on the rewarding journey of foster care. Our mission is to empower and support children who’ve had a tough start to life by giving them safe, loving foster homes all over Victoria. If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, contact our Carer Recruitment Team and enquire about applying today.