Policy Paper

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and the Impact it has on Students in the Foster Care System LaKendra Staples Department of Social Work Jacksonville State University SW 332: Social Problem/ Policy Description Mr. Sean Creech September 12, 2021
Introduction to Social Problem : Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and the Impact it has on Students in the Foster Care System Lifestyle changes can be overwhelming and take time to adjust. Unfortunately, for children in the foster care system, constant changes can take place until they are placed with a permanent family, as they age. One of the most common effects of these changes is the development of social anxiety. Social anxiety, also recognized as social anxiety disorder or social phobia, is a mental state condition. This disorder has been known to be a normal reaction to stress. These feelings are experienced on emotional levels that can cause mental breakdowns. These feelings are also experienced through physical levels by causing sweating, and trouble breathing. There are also cognitive levels that can cause severe discomfort that can lead to people avoiding being around others. This is also a cause that leads to fear. Fear is a common response to anxiety, and can affect people's daily lives. Social anxiety disorder can affect anyone of any age. This disorder senses a feeling of discomfort or nervousness in large crowds, meeting new people, and being in a group-like setting. This form of anxiety is very common and can be triggered at any moment. Most women are more affected by this disorder than men. There are treatments for this disorder that can help people get back to doing things that they would do in their productive lives ( American Psychiatric Association, 2021). Sometimes people are nervous by just talking to people they have never met before. Others might be nervous while speaking in front of an audience. However, a large number of children that grow up in the foster care system suffer from social anxiety because of how frequently they are moved within the system, from the time they are placed or until they age out. Some of the nervousness can come from them being around various types of people or being
assigned to different families, as time progresses. Normal things like attending school, presenting a class project, or reading aloud and having to answer questions in the classroom, might be difficult for these individuals to do. Being nervous is one thing, but social anxiety kicks it up a notch. (American Psychological Association (APA)). Why Should Social Workers be Involved? Social workers should play a role in students' education or any setting that might cause those with social anxiety to have trigger points. The role of a school social worker is to be there for students. Some roles include being there for students who have a behavior problem, academic concern, mental health concern, counseling, and/ or support. School social workers also help students to have someone that they can talk to with confidence. It should be a priority to check on how the children are doing in school and how well they can handle society, since they are in the care of the foster system. If the students in the foster care system have trouble learning or being in a crowd of people even in the classroom, then there has to be a better way for them to learn. Homeschooling is an option, along with counseling, prescribing certain medications that help with social anxiety, or placing the students in a smaller classroom setting with fewer students. Although these students are foster students, they deserve to have the same opportunity as those that are not. (School Social Work Association America 2021.) The Demographics Several surveys and observations have been conducted on the demographics of children in the foster care system with mental health issues. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "Nearly half (47.9%) of youth in foster care were determined to have clinical- ly significant emotional or behavioral problems. A lit- erature review for the Casey Family Programs (Landsverk, Burns, Stambaugh & Rolls Reutz, 2006) concluded that between one-half
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