Stressful Factors in Children’s Development

There are several children around the world who are experiencing some form of stress during their lives.  The effects of stress can cause negative impacts on the developmental aspects of their individual lives.  Although foster care was developed to have positive impacts on the children these programs serve, there are many children experiencing traumatic outcomes. These experiences may include the trauma that caused their removal from the home (perhaps due to abuse or neglect), the trauma of separation from their families, and the potential trauma involved with numerous removals and placements in out-of-home care (Racusin, Maerlender, Sengupta, Isquith, & Straus, 2005).

As a volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club in the town in which I live, Ive recently had an opportunity to witness a child,Bill, develop post traumatic stress disorder because of his placement in a new foster home.  This particular student has been in and out of different foster homes within the last year, and it has been reflected in his behaviors both at school and at the club.  A few weeks ago, Bill was placed in the home of a family that was of a different culture than him.  Bill was devastated that he was in the home with a family “who didn’t look like him”.  During a conversation with Bill, he stated that he was embarrassed to be seen with this family, and felt as if everyone was going to pick on him due to the fact that these individuals were of a different color than he was.  Although Bill had so many concerns and issues with this situation, each person that he came in contact with him tried to explain the idea that everyone is the same no matter what others noticed on our outside appearance.  During the first week of being in this new environment, Bill got into troubles at home, attempted to run away, and depression took a toll on him all at once.

The school, the Boys and Girls Club, as well as the case worker realized the negative impact this change had on Billy’s life and worked together to develop something different for Billy.  With determination and hard work, the case worker was able to find a home of the same culture in which she felt Billy would be more comfortable in.  After being placed in the new home, Billy recovered from his depression and stress.  Although the foster home that he left was depressed, they knew that this move had been done in the best interest of Billy.  Since then, Billy has obtained student of the week, and his behavior has improved tremendously.  Billy now walks around with a smile on his face with his head held high just like he is on top of the world.

Racusin, R., Maerlender, A. R., Sengupta, A., Isquith, P., & Straus, M. (2005). Psychosocial
treatment of children in foster care: a review. Community Mental Health Journal, 41(2),


One thought on “Stressful Factors in Children’s Development

  1. Quintaya,
    I love that you work with the Boys & Girls Club! I was a foster parent for several years and I adopted my daughter from foster care. She also had PTSD and had a lot of behavior problems when she came to live with me. I can relate to how that looks from the foster parents side, I am glad they were able to find a family that was better suited for Billy. I hope that he is able to thrive in his new home!


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