What Are Foster Children Like?

April 4, 2022

What are the foster children like?  

It is impossible to state what a typical FCSA foster child is like. They are all different, each having their own strengths as well as needs. Generally speaking, children in foster care range in age from 5-18. They are male and female and come from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The intellectual levels of the children also vary, ranging from gifted and talented to learning disabled.  

What all of these children have in common is that they have a history of emotional trauma, behavioral issues, and a mental health diagnosis. They are in our program because they need behavioral health services. Their negative behavior either at home, school or in the community has adversely affected their lives. Most of these children have been in several foster homes and have received services from different people and agencies, prior to FCSA. Typically, these placements/services have been unsuccessful. Most children attend regular school, but some of these children are in special programs in school or attend an alternative school. Many children are privately placed with our agency, while others have been placed by the State of Alaska, Office of Children’s Services (OCS) and have a social worker or probation officer.  

All of these children have many positive attributes, but we want you to be aware of the possible negative behaviors. Examples of some of the behavior problems that foster children in our program may have include: aggressive verbal behavior; history of oppositional defiant behavior; destruction of property, self-abuse; depression, difficulty in the public school system, or substance use disorder.  

The following is an example of one foster child that was in our program that has been successful. This child required the highest level of care. This may help give you an idea of some of the children and what can happen when we all work together. Keep in mind, FCSA provides therapeutic foster care for children and youth with different levels of need.  

Keith came into services with FCSA when he was 12 years old. His parents abandoned him at age 2, and he had numerous failed foster homes. He got physical with his teacher and was often in trouble at school. He was referred to a locked psychiatric hospital in Oregon but was diverted to our program instead. During the first months of his program, Keith showed many challenging and disturbing behaviors. Because of the success of his treatment plan and determined foster parents and treatment team that did not give up on him, Keith lived with the same Therapeutic Foster Parents for two years, and did very well. He was able to transition to a family member’s home and is doing well in school, is happy and has great potential.

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