Episode 4: Foster Care and Mental Health

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Being a foster child comes with its own set of challenges including stigma, lack of resources, navigating placements with different foster families and the impact on mental health including post-traumatic stress disorder, panic, anxiety disorders, major depression and drug/alcohol abuse. And there’s an added layer of trauma for racialized children. Black and Indigenous children are over-represented in the child welfare system. For example, the proportion of Indigenous children admitted into care in Ontario was 2.6 times higher than their proportion in the child population. In episode 4, we connect with 3 individuals who navigated the child welfare system and they openly share how their mental health was impacted as a result of their experiences. We speak with one of the former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, Tony Smith, and the founder of Foster-Up, a peer-support group for individuals raised in foster care, Natasha Reimer Okemow. Natasha is a trans-racial adoptee, who also navigated the system from a very young age and is now reclaiming her Indigenous and Jamaican heritage. Psychotherapist, Kosu Boudreau also shares her experience being in the child welfare system as a former crown ward.

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