What kinds of people can be foster parents?

Married, single, same-sex, or common-law, with or without children, are all welcome to apply to be foster parents. You must be able to pass a criminal record check (including all adults in the home), child protection screening, and be experienced with, or willing to learn about children with some special needs.

What are the required physical aspects of a foster home?

Foster homes can be owned or rented, but they must be clean, adequately furnished, in good repair, and free from health and fire hazards. The home must be equipped with a smoke detector on each floor. Medications, alcohol, hazardous chemicals, firearms and ammunition must be kept in a secure location. Children in foster care may have a bedroom of their own or they can also share a room with a child of the same gender and compatible age. A home safety check is completed as part of the approval process and at each subsequent annual review of the foster home.

Is there training to become foster parents?

Yes, as part of the family assessment home study process, prospective foster parents participate in PRIDE (Parenting Resources Information Development Education) Pre-service Training. Topics focus on understanding the foster care system, including the role that foster families play in supporting the families of the children in care, the role of the caseworker, and the impact on the foster family and the children in care. Prospective foster families participate in exercises and activities, in order to prepare them to work with children and families before a child is placed in their home. All-in-all this training takes about 30 hours to complete.

Do foster parents choose the children who come into their home?

Yes, foster parents choose their "range of acceptance" which is the number, age, gender, and level of needs for the kids they would be willing to take into their home. This can be changed at any time and the Ministry of Social Services will work with you to try and match suitable children to your home based on their individual needs.

Is there a limit on the number of children that can be in one foster home?

The Ministry of Social Services policy states that there can be no more than four foster children in a foster home, but allows for exceptions in the following circumstances: emergency placements, placement of large sibling groups, or placement of children who have previously lived in the same foster home.

Who are the children in need of homes?

Children in foster care come from a diversity of ethnic and religious backgrounds. Many have experienced unimaginable trauma, or survived neglect or abuse. As a result, these children may struggle with emotional or behavioural issues. It is not uncommon for children in foster care to require special guidance and care. For the most part, these children need safety, security, attention and support.

How long does a child stay in care?

A child may remain in foster care for one day, a few weeks, several months or even years. Many complex factors determine the length of the child’s stay, and each child has a caseworker who works with foster parents, regarding case planning and the individual needs of the child.