Promoting The Healthy Development
Of Children In Foster Care
Parenting a child with health problems can drain the emotional, financial and physical resources of even the most stable families. Foster children with chronic illness and disability often live in households where their caregivers must cope daily with substance abuse, mental illness and poverty. Without appropriate services and family support, the presence of medical conditions or disability can compound the stress already in the lives of these parents, making it more difficult to manage the daily challenges of parenting and increasing the risk of family dissolution or failed placement. To achieve permanency, children in foster care and their families need services at the earliest possible juncture to enhance the child's healthy development and to support caregivers in their parenting efforts.
Understanding the connection between healthy development and permanency is critical because children in foster care are at particular risk for a number of chronic and acute medical problems. Study after study reveals that they have far more fragile health than other children and are far less likely to receive the health care that can improve their lives.
The Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children has developed its Healthy Development of Foster Children Initiative and several publications to spotlight foster children's healthy development as an essential component of case review and permanency planning.