Foster / Kinship Care
Have you ever thought about becoming a foster parent?
Our goal is to work with families to keep children safe in their own home, however, when there are serious concerns about the care a child is receiving at home, he or she may need to be placed in a foster home.
Foster parents and their families work with our staff to provide a stable and supportive home environment for those children who are in need of a safe, temporary place to live.
Many children remain connected with the foster family long after they leave their home, creating an extended family for both the child and the foster family.
Who are the children in need of foster care?
The children in our care range from infancy to 18 years and come from a variety of backgrounds. Often children come into our care as part of a sibling group; we strive to keep siblings together if possible, and if it is in the best interest of the children.
Most children come into our care on temporary basis and are able to return home to their family once the stress at home has been alleviated, but some must remain in care for longer, some permanently.
Children and youth may come into care for a variety of reasons:
- They have been harmed, or may have been at risk of harm;
- They may have witnessed abuse of siblings or domestic violence; or
- Their natural parents or guardians may not be able to care for them temporarily.
Some children and youth may have taken on parenting responsibilities for siblings due to challenges that their parents are facing.
They need someone to care for them, and our foster families are there. Foster families work as part of the team to nurture these children and youth while a permanent plan is made for them.
Being a Foster Parent
Who are foster parents?
Foster parents are individuals or couples with a genuine interest in children and a sense of community responsibility.
They come from a variety of ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds, of any sexual orientation, and with a variety of child care experience.
Some are parents whose own children are now adults, while some have their own biological children living at home.
What do we require of our foster parents?
- A basic understanding of the needs of children and/or youth, and a willingness to learn
- A stable family home, regardless of family make-up (single or partnered, with or without children).
- A bed and adequate space for each foster child. A foster child may not sleep in a regular basement.
- Past experience caring for children or youth is a definite advantage.
- Working foster parents must ensure appropriate supervision during working hours.
- A love of young people, optimism, tolerance, patience and consistency are essential to the successful foster family.
Yes, there are challenges…
There are many challenges for those families who become foster parents. Children come into the care for many reasons, including physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect or exposure to domestic violence.
Children and youth who have these kinds of life experiences may present emotional and/or behavioural challenges for the foster family.
Children and youth come into the care for varying lengths of time. Many will eventually return to their biological family. Some may not be able to return home, and may stay in foster care permanently or be placed for adoption.
The challenge for the foster family is to provide the physical and emotional support to children, while recognizing the difficulty of letting go when a permanent plan is implemented.
We offer a variety of supports to assist our foster families.
The reward is knowing that you are helping children, youth and families.
Foster parents are paid a daily board rate per foster child or youth in the home. We ensure that other expenses are also covered such as clothing, medical and dental needs, and school and recreation related costs.
Training and staff support
We support our foster families in other ways, such as:
- Initial and ongoing educational opportunities
- Ongoing professional support from our staff
- Access to therapeutic services that the child may need
Foster parents also have access to learning opportunities, mutual support and networking through the local Foster Parent Association and the Foster Parents Society of Ontario.
We also offer a joint program with Enterphase Child & Family Services to provide support to foster parents.
The program provides assistance to foster parents in managing difficult situations, stabilizing a new placement, planning for independent living, and other situations as needed.
If necessary, a worker will visit the home to provide support in a time of crisis.
Applying to be a foster parent
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, most importantly, you must be committed to providing a safe and stable home for a child. You must enjoy caring for children, and be prepared for both the rewards and the challenges that fostering offers.
Foster parents may be single or partnered, and of any sexual orientation.
Criteria for foster and adoption applicants:
- Reside in Durham Region.
- Be at least 21 years of age.
- Be financially self-sufficient.
- Have no criminal record or charges pending.
- Have stable family relationships, including being with or without a partner for at least two years.
- Have consent of all immediate family members.
- Have healthy individual and family histories
You must also:
- Have an approved home with adequate living and sleeping space for a child.
- Demonstrate the ability to carry out essential parenting duties.
- Be willing to learn new skills and participate in ongoing training.
- Be willing to work with Durham CAS and other professionals.
- Be sensitive to the cultural differences and backgrounds of children in care.
- Be supportive of and involved with our Anti-Oppressive Practice work
- Be willing to work with and understand both the child and his or her family.
- Be willing to work towards the child’s future, whether it is the child’s return home or another permanent plan (such as adoption).
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, please contact us.
Eligible applicants will attend several mandatory training classes. We will conduct family interviews to assess the family situation. If approved, the home is formally opened as a foster home. The entire process takes several months.
The decision to become a foster parent is very significant. The time spent in the approval process gives you time to learn more about the process and think about your decision carefully.
Please call – a child needs you.