For Immediate Release
Oct. 1, 2012
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Honouring British Columbians who foster the future
VICTORIA – Today marks the start of a month-long celebration of more than 3,200 amazing families in B.C. These families are foster families, and they take on one of society’s most important jobs by caring for children and youth whose families are in crisis or unable to care for them.
October is Foster Family Month in British Columbia, a time to honour the tremendous contributions foster families make in communities all over the province. Each year, appreciation events are held throughout the month to thank foster parents for the contribution they make to children and their communities.
Foster parents can play an integral role in creating the foundation a child needs to develop into a confident adult and their influence lasts a lifetime. They are part of a team that helps children safety reunite with their parents, live with extended family or make the transition to an adoptive family.
The B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations and the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents offer support, encouragement and a voice for B.C.’s foster parents. In partnership with the B.C. government, the organizations focus on public awareness and recruitment and retention of foster parents to help build the best system of care for B.C.’s children and youth.
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development –
“As the new Minister of Children and Family Development, I look forward to meeting many of B.C.’s amazing foster parents who play an invaluable role in the lives of thousands of children and teens throughout the province.”
“I want to thank all the foster families in B.C. for the incredible job that they quietly do each and every day.”
Heather Bayes, president of the B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations –
“I would like to ask our communities to take the time to reflect on what foster parents do every day for the children in their care and how special that is. Foster parents achieve wonders!”
“Please take the time to say thank you to a foster parent this month, and if you are a foster parent, give yourself a pat on the back and accept the thanks that you are due.”
Gary Mavis, executive director of the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents –
“Although we publically recognize foster parents every year in the month of October, those of us who work with these dedicated caregivers acknowledge daily the commitment of the many families who help the lives of children and youth day in and day out. It is very important we support this important work throughout the year.”
· Foster homes are the primary placement resource for children in care. B.C. has approximately 8,200 children and youth in its care. Of these, about 5,300 children and youth are placed with approximately 3,200 foster families throughout the province.
· Thirty-two per cent of the children in government care who are adopted are adopted by their foster family.
· There is always a need for more foster parents of all cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds so that children in care can maintain their cultural and community connections.
· Anyone, 19 years or older, who wants to share their home with a child in need can apply to become a foster parent.
· Foster parents must be in good physical and mental health. They receive training and undergo background, criminal record and reference checks. On average, the approval process takes three months.
· Once the approval process is successfully completed, new foster parents sign an agreement outlining their responsibilities and complete the 53-hour B.C. Foster Care Education Program within two years.
· There are different types of foster homes:
o Restricted foster parents care for children they know or are related to their family.
o Regular foster parents provide care for up to six children of varying ages and needs.
o Specialized foster parents provide care for children with more challenging behaviour or developmental needs.
For more info on Foster Family Month, visit: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/foster/ffm.htm
Interested in fostering? Visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/foster
or call the toll-free Foster Line at 1 800 663-9999.
B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations: www.bcfosterparents.ca/
Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents: www.fafp.ca
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect