Checking Things Off the List: Facing the Foster Care System

Typically, in New Mexico there are between 2,000 and 2,600 children in foster care each year (New Mexico Child First Network, n.d.). This study contributes to ongoing literature about the challenges faced in the foster care system, but most importantly, to advocate for policy change in the foster care systems’ training and placement protocol. Undoubtedly, this research is not the first performed on this topic; however, we intentionally explore the importance of policy change due to the emergent themes that speak to the impact the foster care system may have on many developmental, behavioral, and emotional issues in children. This current study is aimed at understanding the individual lived experiences of adults who were in the foster care system when they were children and caregivers who have provided care to children in the foster care system. Three female participants between the ages of 20-35 were interviewed for approximately 60 minutes using semi-structured interview questions. Four themes emerged from the data including: Transition (uprooted), assumptions, checking the boxes, and the foster child having to fit a family.