My little cousin was taken into the foster care system last week and I feel really bad about it. What will happen to her? And what should I do?
I’m so glad you wrote you. I can imagine this is a hard time for you, your family, and especially your cousin.
Kids enter foster care for many reasons. Usually children and adolescents enter foster care because the court or their family has decided the child needs a safe place to stay for a while. Foster care is supposed to give families time to make changes while the child stays in a safe place.
Foster care is intended to be a short-term solution until a permanent placement can be made. A foster family cares for a child until they can return home, or until adopted.
What happens to kids in Foster Care?
You cousin will have what is called a Permanency Hearing, which happens in court. This is when a plan is made for what will happen next. In the plan it will say whether your cousin will return home or if the plan is for adoption. It must also say when these things will happen.
How to support your Cousin?
You and you cousin are likely having a whole range of emotions and that’s okay. It can help to talk to each other about what you are both feeling.
If your cousin is having a hard time opening up, it might be really nice to get her a notebook that she can use as a journal. On the inside write her a personal note about how you feel about her, along with some words of encouragement. This will let her know that you care and that she is not alone.
There are some resources that can help both you and your cousin. May is actually National Foster Care Month. You can google it to find more information.
Lastly, your cousin can get support by connecting with FosterClub. The website provides information on entering foster care, youth rights in foster care, normalcy, keeping connected to siblings, and youth stories as part of the #FosterEquality campaign.
You’re doing the right thing by writing in and beginning to educate yourself on foster care. Keep doing this and let your cousin know you are there when and if she wants to talk. You can also learn more at wernative.org/my-life/life-hacks/adoption-foster-care