Master of Social Work (MSW)
Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work
My interest in this topic is the result of having been a foster parent for a period of one year for a group home for emotionally disturbed teenage boys. When my husband and I undertook this project, we had been married for two years and had one daughter of a year old. The five boys we had during this period ranged in age from eleven to fourteen years. This in itself was a phenomenal adjustment to our way of life. A couple grows with its family, passing through the various stages of development, moving gradually from one experience to the next. In our case, we jumped across a span of ten years from our own child to our youngest foster child, missing that gradual transition of adjustment.
Because I had had earlier experience as a caseworker, we were afforded the enriching experience of consistent psychiatric consultation and evaluation. This direction was a most helpful experience because each week seemed to bring some sort of a crisis to be dealt with.
Today, more and more children coming in to care appear to be suffering from emotional maladjustment. Perhaps we are aware of this only because we are learning more about foster children and the impact of their separation from their families. Perhaps emotional illness is in fact on teh increase. In any event this is a problem which faces many, many foster families today and it is one which we must face realistically. It is my belief that it is important to at least offer foster parents some help in adjusting to their new way of life for not only does the foster child have to be helped to fit into the new surroundings but the foster parents and their own children need assistance in accepting what is bound to be a somewhat different family atmosphere. There may be some, who, when offered these services, will not be able to accept them or who will not realistically need them, but I feel they should be available, and that we would find a significant portion of the foster population who would benefit by such counselling.
Thompson, Airdrie, "Counselling Foster Parents" (1968). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 1568.