Current ACS Practices
Bad experiences faced by children leading to traumatic reports have necessitated the creation of orphanages, agencies for adoption, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), associations for supporting vulnerable children and other related organizations that support children who are considered as marginalized (Awake, 2008) these organization provide the children with welfare services and massively contributes towards the growth and development of the neglected children from abuse and exploitation. Administration for Children Services (ACS) provides early care, education services and juvenile justice. Some existing ACS practices include training of personnel that are directly and indirectly in contact with the children in order to equip them with knowledge and skills to carry their duties, carrying out evidence-based investigations in matters that demand so, and engagement of court and judiciary (Gootman et al., 2003).
The abrupt change when the children are taken to foster homes may be overwhelming. The process in itself of removal from the home by ACS is traumatic and can have permanent effects on a person’s life. When a child experiences a traumatic event, this event causes some impacts on the child. Regrettably, though, the transition process after a child is under to foster care can also be a very uneasy and nerve-wracking one. This is an experience children find difficult to process (Chesler, 2011).
Trauma Caused by the Removal of ACS
Traumatic experiences result from verbal, sexual or physical abuse or household dysfunction where they face domestic violence or their parents may have separated. In some cases, the caregiver may have been a drug addict, violent, or mentally impaired (Connecticut, 2016). Such experiences adversely affect their social, emotional, behavioral and mental health. They often feel insecure and develop a significant level of distrust in adults. In some cases, they develop cognitive and language problems, difficulty in their emotional and social functions, and academic failure. Nonetheless, others may exhibit intense emotional upset, difficulties in eating and sleeping, withdrawal symptoms, aches and pains (Eva & White 2013). Moreover, they develop mental health challenges, distress, anxiety, depression as well as drug and substance abuse that may negatively affect their future parenthood (Jacobsen, 2012). Children who have had adverse childhood experiences are often reported to have higher chances of depression; they may attempt suicide, or turn to alcoholism and substance abuse in an attempt to vent their plight (Trayser, 2017).
The importance of the attachment stage between children and their parents
The ages 0 through 6 are the crucial part of a human’s life. This is also a fundamental part for in the child’s life where attachment is important and removal of the child by ACS means a disruption to this (Kimberly et al., 2011). Children ages 0 to 6 are also going through their most critical times when it comes to their development. An interruption such as a removal possesses a great threat to the successful completion of the developmental stage. In those ages the brain is developing its cognitive understanding of the world around them. The child at this age has developed an attachment with his/ her primary care taker. Removing a juvenile from their parent can have some negative effects on the attachment between the child and the parent; as well as the ability to build secure attachments with anyone in the future, because socio-emotional development has been interfered with (Administration for Children and Families & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011).
Immediate Impacts of Trauma on a Child
When a child experiences unwholesome trauma or stress, their autonomic nervous system is activated, resulting in increased heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure (Fawley & Merz, 2014).
Nevertheless, brain and neurological functions are also affected because endocrine and nervous system is affected. Hormone cortisol production is elevated thus facilitate the fight or flight response by reducing pain and inflammation. However, if the levels of cortisol stay elevated for an extended time, it results to negative physiological effects and neurological connections are capable of impairment. No wonder these children, regress in their development and behaviors when initially placed (Crawford et al., 2009).
Minor separation from caregiver, be it a day off or a month spent away from parent could cause anxiety. Separation that could necessitate a change in caregiver, which could last a week or more, affects the child’s reading ability (Levetthal & Brooks, 2000) A month long separation could lead to borderline personality disorder in their later stages of life
Children under one vary on how they express their anxiety (Rieser, 2003). Some may believe that children this age are too young to recall separation from their caregivers. Piaget’s stages of cognitive development states that those children under one experience separation anxiety. She mentions that separation anxiety is very important during this stage. Furthermore, she goes on to say the child is able to remember the separation from the parent as well as can become anxious when there are signs leading to a separation from their caregiver. Fawley and Merz (2014) mentioned, “When a child is exposed to extreme stress or trauma, the autonomic nervous system is activated, resulting in increased heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure.
Long term Impacts of Trauma on a Child
Certain grave effects of childhood trauma go unnoticed, unmentioned and therefore unsolved. In fact, research has exposed that traumatic involvements hold the possibility of resulting in not only strong but also lasting impression on the child’s brain development. The brain is an essential organ for animals, children included, for mankind decisions, compression, cognitive alertness and learning (Browne, 2012). Childhood traumas can go unnoticed but have consequences in the future such as poor academic performance. Such children, because of childhood trauma, develop incompetent cognitive capacities and eventually lead them in poor life progress (Widom, 2014). As soon as the architecture of the brain structure is affected by trauma, serious effects to the intellectual capacity, ability to manage and control behaviors, emotional experiences, and emotional experiences follows and eventually affecting their social relationships (Perry et al 2015).
The implication is even stronger after contemplating that 47% of children facing such distress do so by the age of 59 (Child Welfare Information Gateway, 2007). The negative effect is often mirrored in developmental delays, which can accurately be attributed to the tremendous amount of time as well as energy spent in coping with, responding to and coming to terms with the upsetting events. The longer the traumatic stress remains untreated, the distant they tend to stray from proper developmental pathways (Jacobsen, 2012). Of course, accurate indicators of the impact are challenging to come by, and they vary from region to region.
There is no doubt that the scars carried into adulthood are tough to erase (Awake, 2008).