Ontario’s Children Aid Societies work very hard to help families care for their children. 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 find a family to care for the child until the child can return 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 known to the child or youth. If that is not possible, foster care may be the best alternative.
Foster care is a good alternative option 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 (CAS). 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 and support a plan for each child or youth in care. The preferred plan is to reunite a child or youth with their family. Where this is not possible, the plan may include exploring alternative permanency options such as adoption, Kinship care, legal custody by a family member or foster parent or an independent living situation. Foster parents provide stability and a caring home that encourages a child or youth’s growth and development. While the legal responsibility for the child or youth remains with the agency, foster parents play an important role in the young person’s daily life.
Why do Children need Foster Care?
- Children come into care because there is a conflict within the family, because of a parent's illness or incapability to take care of their child/children.
- Some children may come into care because the family cannot provide adequate care of the necessities of life.
- Other children may have been neglected, abused or abandoned.
Who are Foster Children?
- Each foster child is unique.
- There is no typical foster child.
- 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?
- experienced parents
- young couples who are raising their own children
- single persons
- couples that want to parent
- parents with training in child care or related professions
- people with no special background in child care
- All have a genuine love and interest in children as well as a sense of community responsibility
How do I go about becoming a foster parent?
For information about foster care, contact the foster care department at your local CAS. 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. Homes for Kids is a program that supports the recruitment efforts of several agencies in south-central Ontario.
Winning Kids is a collaborative recruitment program among twelve child Children's Aid Societies in Eastern Ontario.
Foster Care Association Links