What Does It Feel Like to be a Child in Foster Care

by Jen Reichert

Do you know what happens to children who can’t live with their families? Do you know why they aren’t allowed to go home? Do you know how that feels? 

Do you know the confusion, terror, anger, and sadness (and, and, and...) that are shaped in a child when she’s removed from the only home she’s ever known? 

From the outside looking in, it seems such a child should be happy to find safety away from violent, abusive people. And if we’re all doing our best for her, she will find happiness one day. 

But when the only home she’s ever known is a dangerous environment, it’s still home, and we all want to go home. 

Think for just a minute what it would be like if a stranger entered your house, grabbed a few of your belongings, and told you she was taking you to a new house with a new family in a new city. 


What would that feel like for you, Well-Adjusted Adult? What would it look like? 


May is Foster Care Awareness Month

May is Foster Care Awareness Month, so let’s be aware. To help you better understand and even empathize, take 10ish minutes to watch one of the most realistic illustrations I’ve seen in the last few years about foster care and the people affected by it, specifically the littlest people. 

It's the short film, ReMoved, created and made by foster parents.  


Almost 440,000 children in the United States are living in foster care just like Zoe. Many of them have lived in multiple foster homes, shelters, and treatment centers. Most of them only see their parents and siblings once a week. 

Others don’t see family at all.

I'm not telling you this to guilt you into becoming a foster parent or volunteering all your free time. Certainly, if you’d like to do that, we can get you plugged in

All I’m asking is for you to have an awareness about foster care and to help others become aware too. 


What You Need to Know About Foster Care

Know that families are separated every day. Know that even though it might be the safest thing for everyone, it’s confusing and scary and traumatic for everyone. 

Know that children in foster care feel insecure and lonely and want to be home. Know that their moms and dads want them to be home. Know that their moms and dads survived abuse and spent time in foster care when they were little too. 

Know that many foster families are courageous and kind and have turned their lives upside down to care for children who don’t always want to be there.

Know that there are people out here who’ve devoted their lives to transforming foster care and the people affected by it.

And now that you know, let’s see where it leads you.