Some Companies allow Foster Parents to take ‘Bonding Leave’ after the initial placement of a child with them. Here’s a compressed motivation of why it’s SO important to not just send your foster child to daycare/school the first few days after placement.
Foster children suffer both emotional and physical scars before being placed in foster care, due to the trauma, abuse and neglect they experienced and were exposed to. The emotional trauma sustained by the child instills the conviction in their minds that adults (care providers) cannot be trusted with their safety nor to consistently care for their needs in a loving and nurturing way. However, children don’t yet have the cognitive ability to understand the complex reasons and circumstances that led to their removal and the need to protect them there from. Therefore their initial feelings on having been removed from their biological families are those of intense loss, fear, confusion, and uncertainty. They have lost everything that has ever been known and familiar to them, no matter how bad the situation they were in, and are forced to live with complete strangers.
The for mentioned background makes it critical for at least one foster parent to be available to consistently assist, guide and nurture the child during and through this significantly difficult transition phase into the foster family. If the foster parent is there to facilitate this phase it positively aids the crucial bonding (attachment) process between the foster child and his new caregivers. Establishing bonding (attachment) between the foster child and his caregivers is extremely important, as this emotional connection helps the child to work through his trauma and move on to become a happy, productive and well adjusted adult.
Even if the company you work for does not allow for bonding leave, please devote some of your normal leave days thereto. You will never regret having invested in this crucial bonding time.
Written by: Helouise Steenkamp