10 Ways Teachers Can Help Students from Foster Care

Dr. John DeGarmo
7 min readAug 12, 2022

For eight hours a day or more, and for five days a week for much of a calendar year, a foster child will spend his time in school. Indeed, children in foster care will most likely spend more of their time each day with teachers than they will with their foster parents. Many children foster children would rather be any place else other than in school; as it is a constant reminder that they are just that, a foster child. Yet, teachers and school employees have the opportunity to help foster children in a unique and positive manner. Here are the top 10 things every teacher should understand about children in foster care.

1. School is the Last Place the Child Wants to Attend

Many teachers expect good grades and school performance to be a priority in the lives of the majority of their students. Yet, for children in foster care, school is not a priority, and is not a focus. Instead, the main focus and priority for many of student who are placed into foster homes is that of survival; survival from moving from home to home, survival from the abuse and neglect they may have faced in their lives, survival from living apart from their other family members, and survival from moving from school to school.

2. There will be Issues of Trust

Foster children often have difficulty with trust issues when it comes to adults, as well as building a healthy relationship with and adult figure. Thus, the relationships between teachers and foster children are quite often unhealthy ones. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that the foster child may have experienced harsh words, yelling, and abuse from the hands of adults.

3. Learn The Child’s Background

Teachers, as well as school counselors, do not often have the background information they might need when having a foster child under their supervision. In most cases, the background information is not permitted to be released due to issues of confidentiality through legal acts of protection. However, with information comes understanding . Many times, this information is often necessary for a teacher in order to fully understand the student’s needs and abilities. The more information a teacher may have on the child, the better equipped the teacher becomes when trying to aid the…

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Dr. John DeGarmo

Leading foster care expert and international empowerment speaker