4 Myths About Teens in Foster Care
Let’s talk about the teen years. Our little people grow into young adults and with that comes new challenges and joys. We each have our thoughts about teens in general. Add in foster care to the mix and the thought of fostering teens can bring out our deepest fears. Why? Maybe it is because we don’t have all the facts, or perhaps what we thought were facts are wrong. We are tackling the misconceptions today.
Myth 1: Teens are in foster care because of something they have done.
Reality: In almost all cases, it is the actions of their parents that led to them entering the foster care system. It may be the result of a death in the family, drug addiction, parent mental illness, neglect or an unsafe home environment that leads to the teen entering foster care, it is not because of something they have done.
Myth 2: All teens in foster care have severe behavioral issues.
Reality: It is true that some teens have not had stable home environments or have had multiple foster care placements previously, and as a result may be trying to figure out their place in the world. Yet, like all other teens, what they really need—even if they don’t want to admit it—are consistent adults in their lives to provide structure, guidance, safety, and love. Unfortunately, a lack of teen foster homes means that many teens do not receive this as they are placed in group homes.
However, there are thousands of stories of teens thriving with a little structure and encouragement, and their life trajectory changing forever.
Myth 3: The opioid crisis has led to more babies in foster care, so the need for foster parents for teens is less severe.
Reality: While the opioid crisis has been changing the public impression of foster care, the need for adults to support teens has become even more critical. Often, states are forced to place teens that could thrive in a family into group homes as a result of not having enough foster parents willing to welcome a teen.
Myth 4: Teenagers in foster care are too old to influence positively.
Reality: Successful adults that spent time in foster care as a teen often point to one or two people that influenced them, especially in their teen years, that helped make them the person they are today.
Think about your own experience as a teenager; you can likely name a parent, teacher, or coach that had a tremendous influence on you. Teens in foster care need the same thing, and you might be someone to do just that.
You can make an impact in the life of a teen in foster care.
Josh & Liz Archambault, Foster Parents