If you have concerns about a child call: 905.333.4441

Frequently Asked Questions

When Do Children/Youth Go into Foster Care?

Only when families, extended families, friends and others close to them are unable to care for them. The Halton Children’s Aid Society (Halton CAS) wants to keep children and youth living with their families. That’s a goal we work hard to achieve. Sometimes, even after receiving support, parents are unable to provide adequate care for their children/youth. In these situations, children and youth at risk may have to come into the care of the Halton CAS. In most cases, family environments meet the needs of children and youth best and foster families are usually the first choice. By becoming a foster caregiver, you have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child or youth in need.

Who Are the Children and Youth in Foster Care?

Foster children and youth range in age from infants to 18 years and come from all cultural, ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds. Children and youth are in care for many different reasons:

  • there is conflict in the family;
  • a parent is ill;
  • their family is unable to provide adequate care or the necessities of life;
  • with their parents’ consent or under Court order; and
  • to protect them from neglect or abuse.

All of them have one thing in common–they all need safe, stable, caring homes where they can be encouraged to reach their potential.

What Are the Benefits of Foster Care?

Foster care provides children and youth with an alternate family setting during a time of crisis. Children and youth may need foster care for just a few days, a week, several months or possibly even years. During that time, foster caregivers provide stability and a caring home to support the needs of children and youth. In most situations children and youth placed in foster care are reunified with their parents, families and communities. In other situations, foster care can be longer term including until children and youth transition from care or to other permanency options.

What Help and Support is Available through Fostering?

As a foster caregiver, you are not alone. You are part of a team that supports children and youth including their families, extended families and communities, child welfare professionals and community organizations that work together to ensure their safety and well-being and to support their plan of care. Your own needs will also be supported by a child welfare professional during your fostering journey.

How Might Fostering Affect My Family?

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 Foster Parents Association that offers mutual support and networking.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Foster Caregiver?

The timeframe to become a foster caregiver can vary. The training process takes at least a few months. The timing of the home study process varies but can take a few months to half a year or more. Having time helps caregivers prepare and transition into their new role.

Do You Need to Have Two Adults in the Home to Foster?

No. Foster caregivers are diverse. They are single people and couples. They might be family or community members who work together to provide a home including adult siblings or multigenerational caregivers. Foster caregivers reflect diverse identities and cultures. When foster caregivers come from similar backgrounds to the children and youth they are caring for, they are well-positioned to provide informed, culturally appropriate, identity-affirming care.

What Kind of Financial Compensation do Foster Caregivers Receive?

Compensation for foster caregivers varies. The level of financial support that foster caregivers receive may relate to the needs of the child or youth placed in the home and the experience of the caregiver. For example, care for a medically fragile child may result in a specialized (i.e., higher) rate. Child welfare agencies review their rates regularly and adjust for factors such as cost of living. Child welfare agencies also provide other aspects of compensation including, e.g., mileage and training reimbursement.

Can Fostering Lead to Adoption?

Fostering should not be considered a route to adoption as the goal of fostering is different—to support family reunification. Over the last five years, the number of adoptions of young people in the child welfare system has steadily decreased because the child welfare sector has been focused on supporting children and youth to remain safely in their families and communities. Children and youth needing adoptive families outside their families are often older, sibling groups, have experienced trauma and may have complex medical needs. The goal is always to ensure caregivers reflect racial, cultural, religious and identity considerations. Foster caregivers may put forward an adoption plan for a child or youth if reunification efforts have been exhausted. To learn more about the adoption process in Ontario, visit the Central Adoption Intake Service via the Adoption Council of Ontario at www.adoption.on.ca .

What Kind of Relationship do Foster Caregivers have with Parents/Primary Caregivers?

Foster caregivers provide essential support in maintaining connections for children and youth with parents, along with extended family and community members, while they are in care. Coming into foster care is a risk to children and youth’s safety and well-being due to the separation they can experience. Foster caregivers play a valuable role in supporting children, youth and families during challenging times. Foster caregivers often begin to get to know families by taking children and youth to visits, collaborating during planning meetings and supporting transition plans.

What is the Difference Between Foster Care, Kinship Care and Customary Care?

Foster care is when children and youth are placed in licensed family-based placements with people they don’t know. Kinship care is similar, but in these situations, children and youth are placed with biologically related kin, members of cultural communities or individuals with other social, emotional or community connections, such as teachers, coaches or neighbours. Customary care of a First Nations, Inuit or Métis (FNIM) child or youth is provided by someone who is not their parent and follows the customs and traditions of their FNIM community or Band.