To all the foster parents and kinship givers in Central Alberta who, as was passionately pointed out in a letter published in the Advocate on Tuesday, “support our children and youth to reach their full potential in life.”
The letter was authored by Sara Potts and Ron Gaida of the Central Alberta Child and Family Services Authority.
This week was National Foster Family Week, “a time where we are encouraged to think about the foster parents and kinship caregivers who support children and youth in care,” the letter read.
Ending today, the week was set aside to embrace those souls blessed with unconditional love who take needy young persons under their wings and walk them through a world of hatred, violence or neglect. The young people are introduced to a home of love — sadly, all too often it’s an environment strange to them.
Retired Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice John MacKenzie was an inspiration in the local halls of justice when he addressed criminal matters related to abuse of youth and senior citizens.
MacKenzie was passionate in his rulings, saying the two most fragile members of our society who demand the utmost protection under our laws are seniors and the youth.
Such abuse must be condemned in the harshest of words.
Foster parents and kinship caregivers play a critical role by becoming guardian angels to watch over youth.
Far too many of today’s youth face incomprehensible horrors in their homes. They are easily influenced and fragile and they need the care of a loving family.
Those caregivers involved in foster parent programs are not seeking glory or pats on the back. They have a genuine love for these children.
While National Foster Family Week salutes them, these caring families are not seeking public recognition. Their reward is nurturing these children into productive, well-adjusted adults.
There are 472 foster homes and kinship care homes in Central Alberta, “and they do a terrific job caring for over 600 children and youth,” say Potts and Gaida in their letter.
“On behalf of the board of the Central Alberta Child and Family Services Authority, we invite Central Albertans to join us (during foster family week) in thanking our foster parents and kinship caregivers who give so much to our children and youth who need so much,” the letter concluded.
Certainly the job of caring for these children couldn’t be accomplished without the services authority and the exceptional job it does. With wisdom and compassion, members of the authority make the program work.
More caregivers are needed in every community in Central Alberta. Phone 403-755-6104 for details.
Rick Zemanek is an Advocate editor.