Helping Foster Children with Attachment Issues

As a foster carer, you are bound to cross paths with children who have difficulties forming healthy attachments. There is no clear cut cure once an attachment disorder is established, but there are methods of regrouping and rebuilding which have proven to be effective over time. It is essential to understand the language and methods around attachment because this is not a condition that can go unchecked. Read on to find out more.

What Are Attachment Difficulties?

Attachment difficulties are a common occurrence in young people and old people alike. They stem from a fracture in relationships and needs during early childhood. It is common knowledge that core development happens in the first three years of life. The way that relationships are portrayed and implemented during these years, alongside how core needs are met and care is approached, will shape the way a child’s brain develops.

Further to this, any neglect or break in a relationship during childhood can trigger attachment based trauma. It is typically characterised by a range of interesting behaviour that needs to be navigated carefully and conscientiously. Alongside this is an absence of ability to connect on an emotional level with other human beings. Your fostering agency, for instance,, will provide ongoing training for attachment considerations which will keep you up to date with the most recent rhetoric.

Why Are They Common In Foster Children?

Foster children are more likely to exhibit signs and symptoms of attachment disorders for a number of reasons. 

Severed Relationships

Severed relationships tend to be the biggest impacting factor with regard to attachment. A child that has lost a connection either suddenly, or experienced a disjointed and unreliable relationship with a primary caregiver (perhaps owing to drug misuse or alcohol abuse), is likely to suffer some form of attachment crisis. 

Unmet Needs

Unmet needs is another term for neglect. When a baby is left to cry and no one comes to soothe him/her, they are taught that their needs won’t be met. Some children experience this throughout their whole childhood. Neglect is a serious thing,and it is the number one cause of attachment problems because it breeds mistrust and a lack of ability to rely on main caregiver figures. 


Much like severed relationships, grief at a young age (for instance, a parent dying) can bring around attachment disorders. 

How Can You Play a Positive Part in Attachment Healing?

As a foster carer, you can do several things to boost your foster children in their attachment journey. 

Accept the Limitations

Attachment healing is never going to be a linear process. There will be limitations and stunted periods where nothing seems to shift at all. It may be made very personal towards you (aka the person trying to help) and this can feel hard. 

Set Boundaries and Routines

Boundaries and routines definitely help. Learning to trust and rely on people is a big step in attachment and consistency is always a key concept to subscribe to. 

Seek Therapeutic Routes

Work with your social worker to provide the right level of therapeutic care for your foster children. 

Attachment is a complex chasm that requires research, input,and investment in order to find positive ways forward.

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