Being able to recognise the signs of depression in the children in your care is an important skill to have as a foster parent. When a child comes into your care, they may be struggling to process past trauma. They also may find it difficult to adjust to new changes in their lives. In this guide we’ll explain some of the causes of depression in foster children, the signs to look out for and the help and resources available to support you.
Depression and anxiety can be triggered by personal life events or can have no obvious or specific cause. If there is something specific causing the child in your care to become depressed, it’s important to take the steps to understand the causes so you can better support them.
Some of the signs that a child might be more likely to suffer from depression include:
Sometimes, depression in children can be caused by a single difficult event, such as being taken into care. However, it’s often caused by a mixture of things. It’s important to remember that every child is different, and some may be more predisposed to depression than others.
Symptoms of depression may differ from child to child. It can present itself in various ways, some children may present with physical symptoms of their depression such as headaches and stomach aches. Other signs include:
Other signs of depression in foster children can include problems at school, this could be behavioural problems, trouble concentrating or a drop in performance.
If you think your foster child might be depressed, it’s important to support them as much as possible and to remember there is also support and training available for you as a foster parent. Some of the actions you can take include:
If you’re worried about your foster child’s mental health, there are various networks available for advice. There are different channels to support you both externally and within Excel Fostering.
YoungMinds: YoungMinds is a charity that offers free confidential support to anyone worried about the mental health or well-being of a child or young parents. It also provides lots of information for carers about mental health generally.
MindEd for Families: MindEd is a service intended to support parents and those caring for children when they are concerned about a young person’s mental health or well-being. It provides help and advice for those worried about a child’s mental health.
Here at Excel Fostering, we offer therapeutic fostering. This is a type of foster care where carers look after children with complex needs. Our therapeutic foster carers receive special training unique to Excel Fostering. If you become a therapeutic foster carer, we will provide you with everything you need to give your foster child therapeutic care. This service is known as MATTS (Multi-disciplinary Assessment Treatment and Therapy Service) and includes an in-house psychological assessment and 1:1 support. Ensuring you never feel ‘alone’ in caring for your foster child.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.