Author: Julie H., Foster Mom
Yesterday I was really thinking of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and how there are so many applications to foster kids. A quick summary of this Hierarchy of Needs is that people have needs in their lives, from basic needs like shelter, food, and water to the ultimate need of someone to be able to self-actualize and have the need to self-improve. The Theory is that if you don’t have food, shelter, water, etc, then you can’t reach the point of the higher needs (or it’s very difficult), because your basic needs are not met and you must have the basic needs before you can have more advanced needs.
Most foster kids will come to you at that bottom level. They need food, shelter, clothing, etc. It could take you months to be able to move up to the next level. As a parent, you might think that they are at the “love and belonging” level, but then something happens and you get a dose of reality that their needs are still at the Safety Needs level. It’s very humbling at times. You work so hard to help the kiddos, but we have to understand that the kids have to move at their own pace due to past traumas they’ve experienced.
Miss D misses school sometimes due to these needs. I start to feel bad about it at times, especially since I’m a teacher and know how important school is. Then, I think of this chart and I remember Miss D is worrying about the bottom tiers of this pyramid, and sometimes sending her to school is counterproductive to that or we just have a lot of appointments to figure out the bottom levels of need. The school has been amazing. From the teachers to the counselors, to the school social worker, to the unexpected support from the school nurse, I’m grateful for the school staff every day. I’ve never been to a school so often! So, THANK YOU Fox River Middle School staff! You mean more to me than you can imagine!