WHAT IS FOSTER CARE?
Foster care is the full time temporary care of a child in an approved home. A foster family is a substitute family for a child, when the natural family of the child is unwilling or unable to provide appropriate care to the child. Foster parents provide a safe, secure and compassionate placement when a child’s need for this environment is vital.
When children must be placed in foster care, the goal is the safe return of children to their natural families, or to other appropriate permanent families, or to prepare them to live independently.
WHO ARE FOSTER CHILDREN?
Foster children range in age from newborns to teenagers and can come from various cultural, ethnic and spiritual backgrounds.
Foster children have:
· Experienced abuse or neglect in their lives, and may have
· Behavioral, psychological or emotional issues.
Foster children are encouraged to:
· Maintain relationships with their natural family while in foster care if this does not threaten their safety or well- being, and
· Maintain healthy connections and natural support networks in their community of origin.
WHO CAN APPLY TO BE FOSTER PARENTS?
· Persons at least 18 years old, of any gender, coming from any cultural background, and can be married, common law, single, divorced or widowed.
· Persons physically, emotionally and financially stable and accepting of people from other cultural backgrounds.
· Persons residing in Alberta at the time of application, home assessment and placement.
· Persons prepared to take training and attend support groups, as well as work with a team of professionals, including KTC Child & Family staff.
· Persons whose family and friends support their interest in welcoming a foster child into their home.
WHAT DO FOSTER PARENTS DO?
The main responsibilities of foster parents are:
· Making sure that the daily needs of the foster child in their care are met. This includes physical, developmental, educational, emotional, cultural and spiritual needs.
· Acting as an advocate on behalf of the foster child by working with foster care workers and offering views on what is in the best interests of the child.
· Welcoming and accepting a foster child into their home as a full-fledged member of their family, who needs love, security, comfort and inclusion in activities.
· Providing a positive role model and guidance and supervision according to the child’s developmental need.
· Completing regular foster care training intended to continue developing parenting skills to a professional level.
· Working as a member of a larger team of professional workers, which includes the foster child’s family, the child’s caseworker, teachers, health and mental health workers.
WHAT TRAINING TO FOSTER PARENTS RECEIVE?
There are two skill levels to which KTC CFSA and the Alberta Foster Parent Association provide training to foster families:
· Level 1 Core Training
· Level 2 Advanced Training
Other training includes Caregiver Orientation, first aid training, specialized — based on the child’s needs, and supplementary training offered, or sponsored by KTC CFS.
FOSTER CARE FAQ'S
WHAT SUPPORT DO FOSTER PARENTS RECEIVE?
· Foster parents receive ongoing support and training from KTC foster care and case workers.
· Foster parents may qualify to receive respite care for foster children in their home when they need to take a temporary break from the stresses of foster parenting.
· The Alberta Foster Parents’ Association organizes formal and informal gatherings. This enables foster parents to access moral support from other foster parents in the region.
· Regional chapters of the Alberta Foster Parent Association provide various supports to foster parents.
HOW ARE FOSTER PARENTS COMPENSATED?
Foster parents are supported financially according to their training and the skills needed to foster a child. For more information refer to the Foster Care Handbook which can be obtained by:
· Contacting the Alberta Foster Care Association at 1-800-667-2372 or going online at www.afpaonline.com
· Calling the KTC CFSA main office or sub-office.
If you have an interest in foster care, or want to learn more about the foster care program, call the KTC CFSA office or sub-office. A foster care worker will help you to explore fostering and provide you with an information package.
BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT!
Potential foster parents are required to complete a number of steps before accepting foster children.
Caregivers Orientation consists of eighteen hours of specialized training focused on issues relevant to foster parenting. Caregiver’s orientation is mandatory and a prerequisite for becoming licensed as a foster home.
The formal application process includes completing an application form, criminal and intervention record checks, medical form, firearms acknowledgment and storage agreement and obtaining letters of reference from third parties.
The home study process consists of a series of interviews with the applicant by the DFNA representative. Discussions include the potential foster parent’s history, parenting style, communication and supports.
The selection process is concluded after the home study is completed, and the foster care worker’s recommendations are reviewed. If all requirements are met the home will be licensed.
The matching and placement process involves assessing the needs of the child and making every attempt to match those needs with the skill level and experience of the foster parents.