Foster parents gave up on a Wisconsin boy twice in 4 months. "Anthony's" foster care journey is another heartbreaking case of child abuse, neglect, and instability. Another story of foster kids bouncing from home to home. This week we share Anthony's story. It will move your heart, make you sad, and maybe even mad. We hope you learn a bit about what trauma looks like and gain insight into what kids like Anthony need from their foster parents to heal.
Abused and neglected children need foster parents to commit.
Anthony is 8 years old; he has been in 2 foster homes since February! His mom is in jail, and his dad is not active. His older sister is allowed to visit with him virtually just once a week.
His story is not much different than other children referred to us each month. He was physically abused, left home alone repeatedly, witnessed violence, and neglected as his mother used drugs and alcohol. Anthony is paying the price for it all, and he is just 8-years-old. This is TRAUMA.
Sadly, we did not have the right foster home in the right location for Anthony. Our placement coordinator Brian, of 21 years, did all the necessary due diligence to match Anthony with a CCR foster family that could meet his needs. Like many other kids before him, we could not place him because we do not have enough foster homes. In cases like this, the referring county is left scrambling to find a foster home. Anthony is likely to be placed in a temporary home until a permanent foster home is located.
It is heartbreaking, but it commonplace and happens every week!! ?
The foster parents said the boy was too much to handle.
Previous foster families said his behaviors were too much. They needed more tools and support than their agencies could provide. Both families also expressed Anthony's need for therapy services. Sadly, both gave 30-day notices to their agencies to have the boy removed from their homes. The foster parents said Anthony would have tantrums, often several times an hour, and name-called towards family members. He often kicked furniture and screamed at the family dog when frustrated. YES, that is a lot to manage if you don't have 24/7 agency support.
Foster parents need agency support to help foster kids.
Children like Anthony need more than a loving family. These kids require more than basic parenting skills to heal from trauma. Foster parents must know how to care for kids with trauma histories. They need the proper training and support. County agencies know that CCR has the resources, training, support services, and staff to help kids like Anthony. It is what we do. We treat trauma. We help kids heal. Right now, we don't have enough foster homes.
Anthony had many wonderful qualities and characteristics. He also had numerous challenges that required more structure, consistency, and patience from foster parents.
Anthony sleeps well, enjoys a variety of foods, and can be a charmer when not in fight or flight mode. He loves to play card games and enjoys playing in the bathtub. He likes to be helpful with simple meal prep and prefers to be in the company of adults. He misses his mother and asks about her frequently. He is able to visit with her virtually every week.
"I want a foster family that won't yell at me."
Being neglected, physically abused, watching your mom use drugs, having no structure, leaving your home and school, separated from your sister... it all creates trauma, and that rears its ugly head in behaviors. It is to be expected.
Anthony is a bright, intelligent, and funny boy. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, ODD, and PTSD. He often struggles with accepting directives and consequences. He continues to work on de-escalation and coping skills when triggered. He has shown progress in many areas.
When asked, Anthony said he wants a family that will not yell at him. "I like video games, hugs, spy stuff, and chocolate." He especially likes ramen noodles and slushies and dislikes vegetables, smelly smoke, and mean people.
Children who've been neglected experience short-term and long-term effects.
Anthony would do well in a home with children over age 6. Being around other children would allow him to learn positive play as well as developing healthy relationships with peers. Additionally, being around other kids his age would help him to learn and act more age-appropriate. He does lack social skills and his responses are often that of a younger child.
Anthony needs reminders to wait his turn and to give others space. He often struggles when others get more attention than he does. This causes him to act out to gain attention. Providing structure, routines, and house rules will be beneficial for Anthony.
His former foster parents both reported that Anthony does okay in school for the most part. However, both expressed concerns with social skills, listening, and creating disturbances but agreed that he is interested in learning. He continues to make progress with early reading and struggles with math concepts. He is not at grade level in any subject.
CCR foster parents are prepared and supported to care for kids like Anthony.
At CCR, we prepare our foster parents to care for kids with trauma and heightened behaviors. We provide many great tools to help kids like Anthony successfully. One way we support foster parents is by meeting with them every week in their homes. We make sure that services, therapies, and 24/7 support are in place.
If foster families are supported, they will not give up on kids.
Bouncing from foster home to foster home compounds a child's trauma. They cannot heal and grow if they are moving around. Anthony needed stability. He needed a home with a very flexible schedule to meet his needs. It is not easy work, but with a team approach, our foster parents are successful.
We need loving homes with flexible schedules for kids like Anthony. Ideally, we need homes with a parent at home when the kids are not in school. If you want to learn more about how to become a foster parent with CCR, please call us. We promise to help you help the kids in your care!