Impact of drug abuse amongst children in foster care placement: Implications for policy considerations and practice

06 Nov 2019

The use of drugs continues to affect individuals, families, communities and societies across the globe and foster children are equally affected. Drug use remains a health and social pathology and growing trend amongst the majority of young people. The raising prevalence of drug use and the growing concerned about the deepening problem of socially unacceptable and violent crimes committed by young people is cited as one of the key contributory factors responsible for undertaking risky behaviours. Drug use and risky behaviours are as a result of an antecedent history of dysfunctional social and cultural environment. The aim of the study was to assess the impact of drug use amongst children in foster care placement. The researchers used a qualitative exploratory research design. Convenient and purposive sampling techniques were used to select (35) Black African children in foster care placement for data collection. Five (5) focus group interviews, each consisting of seven (7) members, were held with foster children and ten (10) in-depth interviews were held with foster parents. Data was collected through the use of semi-structured interview schedule. The NVivo programme was used to manage and organize qualitative data. Data was analysed thematically. The findings indicated that children in foster care placement perform below average and end up dropping from school. Moreover, these children indulge in unprotected sexual intercourse as well as committing petty criminal activities such as shoplifting and snatching of bags from women in particular. Furthermore, it has been found that these children regard themselves as ‘second hand’ compared to other children. In order to deal with these challenges assailing children in foster care placement, policies should be developed to address the unmet needs of these children, more intervention and empowerment programmes need to be developed targeting children in foster care placement