Central Albertans have a reason to celebrate and some of us may not even know why.
National Foster Family Week, Oct. 18 to 24, is a time where we are encouraged to think about the foster parents and kinship caregivers who support children and youth in care.
It is a time to thank these individuals for the work they do and celebrate the fact that foster parents and kinship caregivers support our children and youth to reach their full potential in life.
There are currently 472 foster homes and kinship care homes in Central Alberta and they do a terrific job caring for over 600 children and youth.
More caregivers are needed in every community within Central Alberta.
The more homes that are available, the better we’re able to match children with the families that best support their needs.
Where possible, we try to keep children and youth
in their home communities and ensure that sibling groups are together.
Given that 47 per cent of the children in care are aboriginal, it is important that we have aboriginal homes that can support their cultural needs.
There are many options available to individuals or families who are interested in supporting a child or youth:
1. Foster parents are licensed to provide care in their homes. Applicants must successfully complete the application process, training and a home assessment prior to becoming licensed.
2. Kinship caregivers are persons who have a significant relationship with a child in care and are willing to open their home to this child. The individual may be a coach, a teacher, a grandparent, a neighbour or any responsible adult who has a positive connection with the child or youth. Kinship caregivers are required to successfully complete the application process, training and a home assessment.
3. Private guardians provide a permanent home to a child or youth until the child is an adult. This is a legal process that the Central Alberta CFSA assists applicants to complete after the application requirements are met.
4. Adoptive parents legally make a child or youth a permanent family member. Adoptive parents must successfully complete the screening process, training and a home assessment. Once approved, the Central Alberta CFSA covers all costs and provides assistance to complete the adoption.
5. Ambassadors assist to spread the word that caregivers are needed. There is no formal training or licensing requirements for this role. Simply talk to your friends and family about the need and refer interested individuals to the Central Alberta Child and Family Services Authority.
For referrals, questions or more information about Caregiver options contact 403 755-6104.
On behalf of the board of the Central Alberta Child and Family Services Authority, we invite Central Albertans to join us in thanking our foster parents and kinship caregivers who give so much to our children and youth who need so much.
Central Alberta Child
and Family Services Authority