The Benefits of Foster Care: How It Impacts Children's Lives

Child upset with her parents

Foster care provides children with a second chance to enjoy a lifestyle they couldn’t receive at their original home. These children get the opportunity to develop their basic life skills and participate in extracurriculars, all while having a stable home environment. Here is how the foster care system benefits and impacts the lives of children in Virginia:

A Safe Place to Live

A child that has to enter the foster care system is a child that likely didn’t have a safe home environment. This could be due to several reasons, such as parental neglect, abuse, or simply not having enough food on the table to survive. This is a child that needs a fresh beginning with love.

It may feel wrong to take a child away from the life they’ve always known, but it’s only being done for the best. They may fight the change at first, but once they realize how life is calmer and more collected rather than chaotic, they will quickly find themselves enjoying the serenity.

Emotional Support

Children are at an age where they struggle to process their emotions. This is especially true in circumstances where they are regularly being neglected, abused, or worse. When a child is placed in foster care, they benefit from taking a break from the chaos and processing their feelings.

If you’re looking to foster a child in need, it is important that you know how to help them process their emotions and provide them with support along the way. These children likely had to grow up too soon. They must learn to enjoy being kids again, away from the emotional baggage.

Access to Quality Healthcare

Often, a child is placed into foster care when they either don’t have access to quality healthcare or don’t have access to healthcare at all. While this can be through no fault of the parents, a child shouldn’t have to suffer because of a situation that they don’t have any control over.

If a child is severely sick and their parent is unable to provide the medical care required, social services may step in and place the child in foster care while they receive the necessary treatment. This treatment will now be covered by the government since the child will be in the state’s custody.

Access to Quality Education

Getting an education is the basic right of every child. If they cannot get an education due to financial constraints or other restrictions placed on them by their parents, social services will ensure they receive the education they need through a safe and reliable foster home.

Although the public school system is free, some children come from backgrounds where they are purposely not registered in their school district because they have to partake in child labor. There are very strict child labor laws in Virginia. Children should not have to earn for their families if their parents cannot provide enough income. Foster children will receive an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) to help further their education more efficiently while in foster care.

A Stable Home Routine

Most children in the foster care system come from a home that is unable to provide them with a stable routine. What this means is that these children are growing up not knowing whether they will have food on the table for the night or they’ll have to go to bed starving.

The foster care system understands that every family hits a rough patch every now and then. You may have recently lost your job and are struggling to make ends meet. But that is not your child’s fault. Such children are placed in foster care until their biological parents get back on their feet.

Development of Life Skills

Did you know that communication is a life skill? That, along with problem-solving and self-care, are essential skills for a child growing up in Virginia. Most children who enter the foster care system lack these basic life skills due to parental negligence, abandonment, or other reasons.

There is no doubt that these basic life skills will significantly help you navigate the adult world. You will need these skills later in life to get a job and be successful in it as well. A child must learn to develop these skills so they don’t fall behind those in their age group later in life.

Positive Role Models

Not everyone is a perfect parent. But if you put in the effort to do your best, what more could a child need? Most children in foster care were living in homes where they didn’t have a positive role model. Where the people they looked up to didn’t care about their living situations.

As a child, you observe things more than adults. At this age, children need to observe positive role models rather than ones who are not putting in the effort. As a positive role model, you can demonstrate good communication skills, positive attitudes, and a can-do mindset.

Opportunity to Learn Extracurriculars

In foster care, a child has the opportunity to take up extracurriculars that they were unable to in their biological home. If they are interested in certain hobbies or classes that they couldn’t partake in due to financial or parental restrictions, they can now do so while in foster care.

Every child has the right to pursue their passion. Taking their dreams away from them at such a young age can do more harm than good. A child needs to feel like they can conquer the world. If they believe they can get anything they want, they will certainly go far in life as adults.  

Have Legal Support

Children with tough backgrounds often had no one to go to for help. They had to rely on themselves to make the best of their situation. The benefit of placing them in foster care is that they now have the support of the entire legal system. They no longer have to feel like they’re alone in the world.

It is important to know that while a foster child's legal support can significantly help their situation, it is even more important for them to have the love and compassion of a foster family. Foster children in Virginia need to feel like their voices are heard and they are seen.

Permanent Placement Opportunities

The benefit of having a child in foster care is that it is temporary. Once the child’s biological home gets the green light from social services, they will be returned to their biological family. Reunification is always the main goal of social services. Families should never stay separated unless necessary.

On the other hand, if you are fostering a child in Virginia, you also have the option of fostering to adopt if you believe that you’ve developed a strong bond with your foster child. This can give the child a stable, permanent home environment that isn’t going away.


Whether you’re fostering a child or your child is in foster care, you can rest assured that social services keeps a check every now and then to ensure the health and safety of the foster child. If you have any questions or concerns about the entire process, ESP is here to guide you along the way.

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