The Burden of Setbacks

For a young person who has experienced significant trauma, abuse or neglect, setbacks are created. Here is one basic example:

A young man is not read to as a child because there is substance abuse in his home.

This child does not do well in school because he carries the trauma from his home life, as well as his lack of preparation, with him each day.

The child’s parents are unable to attend to his increasing difficulties in school and might see them as unimportant if they did not finish school.

As poor school performance continues, the child believes that he is not smart and he is incapable of doing his work. He continues to perform at low levels and slides behind.

The child is now testing well below grade level. He sees himself as stupid and thinks that an education isn’t necessary anyhow.

This is one example of a setback that a young person might carry into the world of foster care. Other setbacks include those that are emotional, physical, psychological and relational. Most of the time, young people have a combination of setbacks.