Who Can Become Foster Parents?
To meet the diverse needs of the children and youth who come into our care, the Halton Children’s Aid Society recruits diverse foster families. We encourage applications from families of different cultural, ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. Foster parents include members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community, couples with or without children, single parent families, single people, retired people (single or married), married and common-law couples.
What Are We Looking for in Our Foster Parents?
The following are factors we consider when assessing potential foster parents.
- Ability to protect and nurture children. Children and youth placed with foster families need a safe and nurturing environment where parents demonstrate care, respect and acceptance.
- Meeting children’s developmental needs and understanding developmental delays. For most children and youth, growing up is usually a predictable developmental process. Often, children and youth who come into care have not had the opportunity or encouragement to grow through learning and may exhibit developmental delays. Understanding the reasons for these differences, helping them cope and believing in their ability to develop to their full potential are essential in helping them meet their developmental milestones.
- Supporting relationships between children and their birth families. Maintaining birth family, kin and community relationships is essential to a child and youth’s sense of well-being and belonging. Even infants who have never been held by their birth parents have a prenatal, birth and hospital history. These memories, experiences and attachments children and youth bring with them play an important role in helping them understand their history and in maintaining continued relationships with their birth family in a safe environment.
- Connecting children to a lifetime of safe and nurturing relationships in the community. All children and youth are entitled to a lifetime of significant relationships. When they must be separated from their community on a temporary or permanent basis, the role of the foster parent in connecting them to lifetime relationships is very important.
- Reinforcing a child or youth’s heritage, culture and identity. Acknowledging and reinforcing a child or youth’s heritage, cultural identity, gender independence, sexuality and spiritual well-being are important aspects of providing nurturing care for them.
- Participating as a member of a professional team. The Halton Children’s Aid Society works together with foster parents and community partners to provide positive outcomes for children and youth. Foster parents are a part of, and supported by, a team of professionals.
- Experience in caring for children and youth is a definite advantage for a family thinking about fostering. You may still apply to foster even if you have no experience, as long as you have a basic understanding of children and youth’s needs and a willingness to learn.
- A love of young people, optimism, patience, a good sense of humour and consistency are all essential attributes of successful foster families.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Foster Parent?
The entire process can take many months. The length of time depends largely on how quickly you return your application package, when PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) pre-service training is available and how soon we receive your references and background checks.
What is the Process?
- Step One – telephone/email Inquiry
- Step Two – initial home visit to view the home, assist with additional questions and application package
- Step Three – PRIDE pre-service training
- Step Four – homestudy, which includes interviews, record checks and home safety check
- Step Five – approval and signing of service agreement
Do Foster Parents Receive Any Assistance?
If you become a foster parent, you will receive pre‐service training as well as continuing skill and knowledge development through many educational opportunities. Foster families receive a daily, non-taxable room and board rate for each foster child placed in their home. Other covered expenses include clothing, medical, dental, school supplies, recreation and transportation. You will be assigned a worker who will lend you support and guidance. In addition, you will have 24-hour access to our emergency support team. Our foster parents also have their own network of foster parent support and mentorship that offers mutual support and networking.
Does the Halton Children's Aid Society Need More Families?
Although we have many experienced and devoted foster families, we desperately need more families willing to foster children and youth from birth to 18 years of age. There is a particular need for families of diverse backgrounds and those who wish to support children ages 12 to 18. For more information about becoming a foster family, please contact us at 1.866.607.KIDS (5437) or by email at FosterCare@HaltonCAS.ca.