Ontario’s Children Aid Societies work very hard to help children remain in their families. However when children cannot remain at home because of serious concerns about their safety and protection, they come into the care of a child welfare agency that makes every effort to give a child a family and a home.
Where possible, the preferred option is to place the child with a member of the immediate or extended family or a member of the community. If that is not possible, foster care may be the best alternative.
Foster care is the first choice because most children's needs are best met in a family environment. Foster parents provide a temporary home for children who are in the care of a Children's Aid Society. Children may need foster care for just a few days, a week, several months or possibly years.
Foster parents work with CAS staff as part of a team to develop a plan for each child in care. The ideal plan is usually to reunite a child with their family. Where this is not possible, the plan may include adoption or long-term foster care. Foster parents provide stability and a caring home that encourages a child's growth and development. While the legal responsibility for the child remains with the agency, foster parents play an important role in the child's daily life.
Who are Foster Children?
- Each foster child is unique.
- There is no typical foster child.
- Children come into care because there is a conflict within the family, because of a parent's illness or incapacity to take care of their child/children.
- Some children may come into care because the family cannot provide adequate care or the necessities of life.
- Other children may have been neglected, abused or abandoned.
- Foster children range in age from infancy to 18 years and come from diverse cultural, religious and family backgrounds.
- Many foster children are teenagers; some are brothers and sisters.
- Some foster children face physical, emotional and mental challenges.
- Each foster child is going through a troubled period in his family life and needs the care offered by foster parents.
- Many require not only warmth and acceptance but consistency, structure and guidance.
Who are Foster Parents?
Foster parents come from all walks of life and a diversity of culture, religion and lifestyle. They may be
- experienced parents whose family has grown
- young couples who become foster parents while raising their own children
- older couples
- single persons
- parents with training in child care or related professions
- people with no special background in child care
- All have a genuine interest in children and a sense of community responsibility. They enjoy the challenge presented by foster care.
How do I go about becoming a foster parent?
For information about foster care you should speak to someone in the foster care department at your local CAS. Foster care is operated by local CASs. Call your local Children’s Aid Society to find out about the process, evaluation and training required to become a foster parent.
There is always a need for more foster homes and there are many regional foster recruitment programs across the province. Call your local CAS for more information or find out more about the recruitment program in your area: Homes for Kids (H4K) is a program enabling twelve Children’s Aid Societies to work together to recruit foster parents in communities around the Golden Horseshoe and Winning Kids is a collaborative recruitment and retention program, among twelve child welfare agencies in Eastern Ontario, to encourage people in Eastern Ontario to foster.
Foster Care Links
If you have any questions regarding OACAS' foster care training program, please call (416) 987-7725.