What is Foster Care?
Foster Care provides temporary care in a safe, nurturing, family environment for children and youth who cannot remain with their family at that given time. Care is provided until a permanent plan can be developed, which may facilitate a child or youth’s return home, placement with kin or in an adoptive family. Children and youth who live with foster families have an opportunity to heal, grow and develop. The length of time they spend in care can vary from a few days to months or years, depending on their circumstances. Foster care services are provided by children’s aid societies (CASs) who are mandated by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to protect children and youth.
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 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 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 parent you have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child or youth in need.
Who Are the Children and Youth We Care For?
Foster children 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:
- because there’s conflict in the family;
- because a parent is ill;
- they come from families that are unable to provide adequate care or the necessities of life;
- some children are in foster care with their parents’ consent, while others are in care under court orders; and
- some children are in foster care 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.
How Long are Kids in Foster Care?
Some children and youth need foster care for just a few days or weeks. Others may need care for a few months or, in some situations, a few years. Foster parents provide a safe and caring environment for each child/youth. Foster parents work together with the Society staff to develop a plan for each child/youth in their care. In situations where reunion is not possible, a permanency plan is made for the child/youth. The role of the foster parent is essential to the daily life of children and youth in care–the caring, nurturing and stable environments foster parents provide help promote the healthy growth and development of children and youth in need.
How Soon Will a Child/Youth be Placed with My Family?
How soon a child or youth is placed with you will depend on a number of factors. For example, if you are willing to have older tweens, teens and siblings placed with you, then you will probably have a placement sooner. That said, finding the right match for a child/youth is more important than the speed of placement.
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.