Common Symptoms of Trauma for Foster Children

In reading on the Concordia St. Paul website, it states that:

"Those In the year 2015, 3.4 million children were affected by some form of child abuse and/or neglect as indicated by Child Protective Services’ reports (Bartlett & Rushovich, 2018). More than 250,000 children and adolescence enter the foster care system nationwide annually (Mitchell, 2018). Most of these children are removed from their biological homes due to cases of abuse and/or neglect, and thus victims are placed into foster care with minimal to zero notice.

Children and youth in foster care have increased mental health issues; it is estimated that half (50 percent) of children and youth in the child welfare systems are at a 2.5 times heightened risk in developing mental health disorders compared to children not involved in the child welfare system. (Jankowski, Schifferdecker, Butcher, Foster-Johnson, & Barnett, 2019). Children in foster care are diagnosed with behavioral health issues five times as often versus children not in care. Children who have undergone trauma typically develop unhealthy behaviors and habits which include increased aggression and disobeying adults; such behaviors assist in protecting the child from abuse in the past."

Other common symptoms of trauma (often recognized among children in foster care) include:

  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Loss of appetite
  • Toileting issues
  • Inappropriate boundaries
  • Nightmares and night terrors
  • Flashbacks
  • Distrust
  • Hyper arousal
  • Food hoarding
  • Reactive attachment
  • Tantrums