Context Presentation Week 10: Quality of Life for Foster Care Children

In Lisa Ko’s novel The Leavers, Deming Guo is forced into the foster care system after his mother mysteriously leaves him. Deming is adopted by Peter and Kay whom decide to change his name to Daniel Wilkinson. Even though Daniel is saved from a longer stay in the foster care system he still endures common issues of an average child within the foster care system which makes a reader think of the quality of life for children after foster care.

Daniel dealt with many struggles in his life after the foster care system like his gambling addiction. Most of these struggles can be pointed back to mental health which studies presented by Springer Science & Business states, “High rates of mental health problems amongst children in home-based foster care have been reported by Tarren-Sweeney and Hazell found that 57% of a sample of 347 children in home-based care had mental health problems and Sawyer reported that 61% of 326 children in home-based care had mental health problems” (Springer 2). These rates are heavily inflated when compared to the children of the general public given normal circumstances. Because of statistics like this children in the foster care system struggle from making great decisions once out. The children that do not get adopted before becoming adults often report feeling “unwanted” by society as if they don’t belong.

In another study performed by the Journal of Child & Family Studies they found that emotional intelligence is a significant predictor of a foster child’s quality of life once they “aged out” of their respective foster system. The lower scores in this area tend to be vulnerable to issues like poor education success and homelessness. Through this study it is clear to see that the foster care system has a failure in ensuring a quality life for children given up by their parents often times leading to the foster care alumni with nothing but a dead end in life. In conclusion the foster care system in America sadly often leads innocent children like Daniel down a path filled with poor decisions.

Works Cited:

Carbone Josephine A., Sawyer Michael G., Searle Amelia K., & Robinson Philip J. (2007). The Health-Related Quality of Life of Children and Adolescents in Home-Based Foster Care. Quality of Life Research16(7), 1157–1166.

Kennedy, T. D., Flach, Y., Detullio, D., Millen, D. H., Englebert, N., & Edmonds, W. A. (2019). Exploring Emotional Intelligence and IQ as Predictors of Success of Foster Care Alumni. Journal of Child & Family Studies28(12), 3286–3295.

Ko, Lisa. The Leavers. Chapel Hill, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2017.

2 thoughts on “Context Presentation Week 10: Quality of Life for Foster Care Children

  1. I really like that you applied the quality of life for foster children to this novel because it plays such a large role in the novel. It is also something that comes into play in the stuff i’m learning in psychology, looking at nature vs nurture. The genetics that they inherit versus the nurture they are given later on in their life, especially if they are coming out of a bad household situation into a new family. It is an interesting situation especially because the age at which Deming is placed into foster care.

  2. I really enjoyed how you highlighted a lot of the details on foster care and the physical life of foster care itself, it plays a huge role in this story and I believe it is one of the most important things. I also wrote something similar on my context presentation about the life in foster care so I related mine a lot with your presentation. Great work!

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