Evaluating Risk Factors in Foster Care

We talk about evaluating the risk factors for foster care with Dr. Kimara Gustafson, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota with appointments at both their Adoption Medicine Clinic and Pediatric Emergency Department.

In this episode, we cover:

  • The common risk factor that foster parents and those wanting to adopt from foster care need to be aware of include physical, emotional, developmental, educational, and behavioral problems rooted in childhood adversity and trauma.
  • What types of trauma are foster kids exposed to? Neglect, abuse, prenatal exposure, multiple caregivers, not having a reliable caregiver, constant stress 
  • What percentage of children in foster care have been exposed to drugs or alcohol prenatally? 
  • Impact of trauma on physical health. 
  •  Foster parents often have little information about prior health history. 
  • Overmedication of foster children and youth. 
  • Research has found that the average number of psychiatric diagnoses and psychotropic medications prescribed were significantly greater for youth and children in foster care. o Children in foster care are likely to be kept on them longer than other Medicaid-enrolled children who are not in foster care. 
  • What are psychotropic drugs and why are so many foster children on them? 
  • Who has authority to make health care decisions for foster children and youth? 
  • Impact of trauma on mental health. 
  • hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. 
  •  What types of behaviors are common as a result of trauma? 
  • Sleep issues common to children in foster care. 
  • Food issues common to children in foster care. Creating a Family course: Practical Solutions to Typical Food Issues 
  •  Impact of trauma on a foster child’s education. 
  • Children in foster care need educational advocates. 
  • Risk factors to consider for children already in the home. Creating a Family course: The Impact of Fostering on Children Already in the Home 
  •  Children can heal and foster parents can and do make a difference! 

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Brett Sayles from Pexels