Children in foster care have often experienced early-life trauma, which can hinder their psychological development. Over time, this can lead to children that lack necessary behavioral skills or the overall ability to build positive relationships, particularly with adults (Williams-Mbengue, 2016). This is especially true of relationships between foster children and their foster parents. Prospective parents are often ill-equipped to interact with and discipline children that come from complicated backgrounds.
Depending on the state, prospective foster parents may be required to take training courses to learn how to interact with children effectively. These courses usually include methods for disciplining and bonding, but in practice may be difficult to translate from the classroom to real life. Each child has a different personality and background, meaning there’s no uniform response to any given situation. Children in foster care may even have adverse reactions to parenting methods that work well with other children.
It’s important for foster parents to learn from each child that enters their home, but it’s virtually impossible to perceive how every single action and interaction may affect the child under their care. One study utilized video feedback to help foster parents observe themselves playing with and disciplining their current foster children, and the results were promising. The study involved an expert entering the subjects’ homes, recording parent-child interactions, and providing insight on how to give these interactions a more positive impact (Schoemaker, 2018).
The use of video in a situation like this allows parents to see the minute details in their interactions that they may not have noticed or remembered otherwise. It’s also easier to pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues from the children to better understand how and why they reacted a certain way. This method of learning enables parents to help their foster children better relate to adults, and vise versa (Mersky, 2015).
Vosaic would serve as a valuable resource to improve interactions between foster parents and the children in their care. Our software was built with flexibility in mind, so that it could easily be incorporated into state-mandated training to perform simulations where prospective foster parents can see how they can improve their ability to relate to children.