With a recent decrease in the number of foster parents, the Alberta government is raising awareness of the need for more foster parents through a campaign with hopes of creating 100 additional foster placements over the next year.
Just Like You, which launches Feb. 3, urges Albertans to picture themselves as foster parents and consider opening their homes to children and youth in care.
The more foster homes there are, the less likely it is that children and youth in care will have to leave their home communities or be separated from their siblings. Helping kids stay connected to their sources of support plays a valuable role in ensuring the safety and well-being of children and youth in care and helps them thrive.
“We’re looking for more foster parents – just like you – to provide a stable, loving home to children and youth in government care, whether on a full-time or part-time basis. I have heard from children in care about what a huge difference one person or one family can make. By becoming a foster parent, you could make a positive change that impacts a child’s life, and in turn future generations.”
The call for more foster parents is part of ongoing work by the Ministry of Children’s Services to create more stability within the system, reduce the number of moves and minimize disruption during a child’s time in care. Reviewing and improving the foster care system was identified as a priority by Premier Danielle Smith when she issued her mandate letter to Children’s Services Minister Mickey Amery.
There is no cookie-cutter approach as to who can become a foster parent. Foster parents can be single or have a partner, be in their 20s, middle-aged or a senior, be in the midst of raising their own children, not have any children or be an empty nester. They can live in the city, a small town or in the country. Albertans with specialized medical training are encouraged to become foster parents because their knowledge and skills can help children in care who have medical issues.
Interested Albertans can also apply to be part-time or respite foster caregivers, so that full-time caregivers can recharge.
“Foster parents play such an important role. You are the temporary connection and support system children and youth in care need, to help them stay connected to their families and communities as they walk through a challenging time of their lives. The connection foster parents build with foster children often lasts a lifetime, with many caregivers hearing from their foster children for years to come as these children grow up and chase their dreams and start their own families. That demonstrates how powerful the bond and impact is.”
“Foster parents are everyday people – just like you. If you have ever considered becoming a foster parent, now is the time. Children all over Alberta are in need of a safe place to temporarily call home. Becoming a foster parent provides the unique opportunity to support families in need. Not only can you impact a child’s life but an entire family’s life.”