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Supporting a Foster Child's Mental Health

How To Help Foster Children With Their Mental Health Image

When caring for a child, it’s important to support them with any mental health problems they may face. This is especially true when caring for a foster child. In fact, approximately half of all children in care meet the criteria for a possible mental health disorder, compared to one in ten children outside the care system*.

Children’s Mental Health Week is taking place from 5th - 11th February 2024, the perfect time to bring young people’s mental health into focus. This year’s theme is ‘My Voice Matters’, which is about empowering children and young people by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves. 

This special week is being coordinated by Place2Be and there's a wide range of brilliant resources including advice and age appropriate activities for children on their website. You can find these by visiting their Resources for Families section. In addition, we've shared some of our own tips below to help all our Olive Branch carers support their foster children and families with their mental health. 

Be there to listen

Often, just being there to listen to a child can be a big help. The saying a problem shared is a problem halved can certainly be true, and it gives the child the feeling that they are listened to and valued. You can create a safe space of trust by letting the child know that you’re always there to listen, and you could regularly ask them how they’re doing. Small chats can often lead to bigger talks.

Be supportive and encouraging

Creating a supportive environment can make all the difference in encouraging a child to open up about any challenges they may be facing.  Show interest in the child’s life and the things that are important to them, including hobbies. This creates an encouraging environment and a trusted space for conversations.

Be aware of any changes in behaviour

Keep an eye out for any changes in behaviour. Children may not always say when something is wrong, but their feelings often show in other ways. If you notice a sudden change in behaviour or personality, try to gently encourage the child to talk about their feelings.

Create positive routines

Many foster children have come from a background of instability, which can be upsetting and disruptive for a young person. Creating a positive atmosphere and a sense of routine can provide the stability a child needs to feel safe and comfortable. Encouraging a healthy diet, regular exercise, and creativity can also be part of these positive routines.

Be aware of the support available

If you are struggling to help a foster child with their mental health, don’t worry. You are not alone, and there is plenty of support available. If you’re concerned about anything or have any questions, get in touch with your social worker or the team at Olive Branch Fostering.

* Source



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Date published

06 February 2024

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