Hi Cathy, I need advice, badly. My husband and I received our first foster child 2 months ago, a 12 year old girl. Severely neglected. It’s like teaching a toddler how to take care of herself. Wiping, showering, hand washing, and of course the monthly issue, and the bodily fluids. She won’t eat anything other than meat and then she gorges on it. She can barely talk. So many details I could give you, but my biggest concern is my 13 year old daughter. She stares at her and follows her around. My daughter is hiding in her bedroom. I’m worried about how this is affecting her. I feel like a failure for wanting to give up after only 2 months.
At wits end in Ohio, USA
CG: Dear Karrie, if this is your first foster child then you have been thrown in at the deep end. I hope you are getting some good support. If not ask for it ASAP. This girl has a high level of needs due to severe neglect and she will be like a big toddler. She will need to go through the various developmental and learning stages before she can move on. Don’t struggle on alone, ask for support, therapeutic input and also some respite so that you and your daughter can spend time together. Obviously talk to your daughter and explain why the girl is like she is. Meet with her teachers and discuss strategies. The strategies in my books Happy Kids and Happy Mealtimes For Kids will help. However, progress may be slow to begin with: the longer the neglect, the longer it takes. Your own daughter’s wishes need to be taken into account and it may be that in the end, despite your best efforts, this girl’s needs are beyond what you can reasonably meet. Let me know how you get on.