Caregivers' Guide to Mental Health Services for Foster and Adopted Children


Children in foster care have all experienced trauma, including abuse or neglect, which may have lasting effects on their mental health.  "Mental health" includes a person's moods, emotions, patterns of thinking and behavior.  It affects a child's growth and development, and the child's ability to succeed in school and to have healthy connections with family and friends.  Children in foster care generally have greater mental health needs than children who have not been in foster care.

Foster parents, relative caregivers, and adoptive parents can help make sure that children's mental health needs are met, by:

  • Becoming educated about the effects of trauma on the well-being of the child and   recognizing these symptoms early;
  • Helping their child get access to good quality mental health services;
  • Working with the child's therapist and other mental health care providers once services are in place; and
  • Helping their child get additional or different mental health services if the current services are not effective.