Who Are the Children?

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Teenagers. Sibling groups. Children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. Children who have been abused and neglected.

More than half the children are of minority descent. Sadly, many of them have experienced abuse and neglect, and all have endured the trauma of being separated from their families. The challenges differ from child to child, but they all long for unconditional love, patience and understanding.

  • Generally, children toddler-aged and older, including children of broken marriages where neither parent wanted custody, especially boys;
  • Non-white children;
  • Children with mental handicaps or learning disabilities;
  • Children with physical or emotional disabilities too severe for their parents to cope with;
  • Babies born to mothers addicted to drugs or alcohol, who may themselves have been born addicts;
  • Children born with HIV infection;
  • AIDS orphans;
  • Children with genetic disorders and illnesses;
  • Children from families who have neglected or abused their children;
  • Sibling groups: brothers and sisters needing adoption together.

These are some of the children who come into the foster care system. They have been removed from their families, or voluntarily placed in foster care because of a breakdown in the family, for which the children pay the price. When the family home becomes unstable, unsafe, abusive, neglectful, or criminal, children are removed for their own safety. This, however, does not mean that children don't love the parent(s) with whom they lived, even in cases of extreme abuse, and the separation of families can be highly traumatic for them. They are perhaps leaving the only home they've ever known, being quickly transplanted elsewhere by adults who may not be forthcoming with explanations. If they have some belongings with them, the probability is that they are few. While efforts are being made today to keep siblings together, that isn't always possible and the additional trauma of this separation can be devastating.

Recent years have seen a rise in AIDS orphans. These are children whose parent(s) have died from AIDS and who end up in the foster care system because there are no other immediate options. The death(s) of their parent(s) is immediately followed by placement in a new environment which is probably radically different than the one they came from, and the difficult transition is compounded by the complex enormity of grief over losing their parent(s) and grief at losing the life they've known.

Medically fragile children, emotionally damaged children, children who badly need a home environment in which to receive care and nurturing to give them their best opportunities for the future.

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (

Visitor Comments (2)
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terry - 7 months ago
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this is tell you why some children is place in foster care being abuse in some case let you know why it is important to be a foster parent these children need unconditional love #1
clare - 12 months ago
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i would like to know why more than half of the population of children die in foster care in the west midlands and why do foster parents abuse foster children #2
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