Our guide to understanding how to become a foster parent
While foster parenting can be a challenging undertaking, foster parents may well experience the satisfaction of knowing they are assisting a child in crisis and are contributing to a better future for a youngster who has been entrusted to their care.
Fostering is a family affair and will have an impact both positively, and sometimes negatively on your whole family. It is important to know this as you determine whether or not fostering may be right for all of you at this juncture in your lives. In determining whether or not foster care is right for you, it may be helpful to consider some of the following questions:
- Do I genuinely enjoy caring for children?
- Can I accept a foster child as a valued part of my family?
- Is my life (relationship/marriage/partnership, children, health, financial situation etc.) stable enough at the present time to accommodate caring for a child?
- Am I flexible and open to change and can I live with “unknowns”?
- Do I have room in my home to accommodate a foster child(ren) who may require his or her own room?
- Would I enjoy working in partnership with professionals, such as social workers, teachers, child and youth workers, therapists and other medical professionals?
- Am I comfortable with diversity, and could I care for a child whose racial, cultural, religious background differs from my own?
- Am I willing to acknowledge the importance of a child’s family of origin and to do what it takes to support a foster child’s connection with his/her family whenever possible?
- Will the significant people in my life (family and friends) welcome a foster child and support me in my role?
If you answered YES to all or most of the questions above, then considering foster care, may well be right for you and your family.
Becoming A Foster Parent
In Ontario, foster care is highly regulated by the provincial government and regulations pertaining to foster care are embodied in legislation. Agencies providing foster care, such as Evolving Youth Care, are licensed by the province of Ontario, and must meet the regulations as set out in legislation. What this means for individuals and families interested in providing foster care for a child, is that they must be deemed to be suitable to foster in relation to a number of standards.
It is the role of the service provider (Evolving Youth Care) to assess foster parent suitability. The process of becoming a foster parent involves a number of phases. This is referred to as a homestudy. The entire process can be quite lengthy—likely several weeks or as much as 3 to 4 months, depending on circumstances. You will be required to provide a good deal of information about yourself and your situation.
At times, the process and some of the questions asked may feel intrusive. Please keep in mind that what will be asked of you is intended to ensure that your home can be designated as a “place of safety” and that fostering is right for your family. Evolving Youth Care is committed to working together with you to make the process as comfortable, interesting, and informative as possible.
Application and Homestudy Process
You have already initiated the application process by expressing your interest in fostering. In follow up to your inquiry, you will have been contacted by telephone. Hopefully, this telephone discussion will have provided an opportunity to address some of the questions you may have about fostering and what is involved. If you decide to take the next step, you will be visited in your home and the homestudy process will formally begin. As part of the homestudy process you will be asked to:
- Complete an application form and complete a detailed personal questionnaire
- Meet for discussion with the home assessment worker on a number of occasions over a period of weeks. Discussions will involve both individual and family interviews.
- Provide us with a criminal record check for all adult members of the family (those over 18 year of age)
- Provide permission for us to conduct a Child Welfare record check
- Undergo a medical examination by your General Practitioner and provide a report
- Provide information pertaining to your financial circumstances
- Provide the names of three individuals who will act as a reference for you
- Make your home available for a safety inspection and make any necessary adjustments that are deemed necessary i.e. providing a locked cupboard for toxic materials
What support can you expect as a Foster Parent with Evolving Youth Care?
Once you are approved to provide foster care, Evolving Youth Care will provide you with a
number of supports. These include:
A non taxable per diem for each day that a child is placed in your home and on occasion, reimbursement for extraordinary expenses
A Foster Care coordinator will work with you and will be the person with whom you most regularly communicate. The coordinator will provide ongoing support by meeting with you regularly, by helping to find satisfactory solutions to challenges that may arise, by attending plans of care and other meetings as needed, and by providing informal training.
A Child and Youth Worker will be assigned to work with you and the child(ren) in your care. For each child placed with you, there will be an allocation of 9 hours per week of support from a Child & Youth worker. The worker will assist with meeting the needs of the child, you and EYC and may be used in a number of ways i.e. attending and/or supervising access visits, providing relief, accompanying child to appointments, completing required administrative tasks etc.
EYC provides an “On Call” system so that should you need to, you can reach a member of staff anytime outside of normal business hours.
Training will be provided formally and informally by our Supervisor of Learning & Development to assist you in developing your skills as a foster parent.
EYC is actively recruiting prospective foster parents, If you think foster care is a fit for you please
Apply To Be A Foster Parent
If you’d like to apply to be a foster parent with EYC, please complete the form and someone will get back to you shortly.
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