Support for foster and kinship caregivers
Compensation, social supports, services, training and resources available to caregivers.
When planning for or after becoming a caregiver, you can access a number of supports and services. These are provided through:
- government foster and kinship care programs
- support workers
- agency foster and kinship care support workers
- other caregivers
- Alberta Foster Kinship Association
Supports include, but are not limited to:
- ongoing contact and visits from a support worker and child’s caseworker
- resources for respite and child care
- peer support and support groups
- conferences and recognition events
Types of compensation
Foster and kinship caregivers receive financial compensation to cover all of a child’s day-to-day costs. This includes:
- Basic maintenance allowance (for foster and kinship caregivers)
- Based on the age of the child, this allowance helps cover day-to-day costs of raising a child such as: food, clothing, shelter, personal care items, general household costs, a spending allowance, non-prescription medications, gifts to the child, and gifts for the child to provide to family members.
- Skill fee (for foster caregivers only)
- The skill fee compensates foster caregivers for their level of training and expertise in caring for a child. This rate is based on the classification of the foster home – Level 1 or 2.
- Respite per diem
- In addition to basic maintenance, a per diem allowance is added to enable and encourage caregivers to take necessary and healthy breaks from the day-to-day demands of caregiving.
- Infant care initial expenses
- When infant placements are unexpected – as part of a sibling group or as an emergency placement, for example – the costs of equipment such as cribs or car seats that are required to accept and support an infant placement are covered.
- Infant care costs
- Caregivers will receive monthly reimbursements, based on submitted receipts, to help compensate for the costs of formula, diapers and basic baby supplies.
- Medical coverage
- Medical, dental and optical services are covered through each child’s Personal Healthcare Number (PHN) and their Treatment Services Card or, for First Nation children with Status, by the federal government through the child’s Treaty or Registration Number.
Schedules and guides
For specific rates, see the Current Compensation Rate Schedule – July 1, 2016 (193 KB)
For more information about how compensation works, see the Compensation Guide for Foster and Kinship Caregivers.
Supports and services
Training is provided to help caregivers deliver quality care. With quality care from caregivers, children and youth have a better chance for good results.
The goal of caregiver training is for children and youth in need to be cared for by empathic, responsive caregivers who:
- accept them as they are
- respond to them in a developmentally-appropriate manner
- interpret their behavior through a trauma-informed approach with an Indigenous lens
- consider the impact of the loss and grief they’ve experienced
Caregivers are reimbursed for all training-related costs, including:
- meals and babysitting
Contact your foster or kinship care support worker for information on how to access training.
Everyone interested in becoming a foster or kinship caregiver completes mandatory orientation training. This course explores the applicant’s motivation for caregiving, and covers such topics as:
- child development
- special needs of children and youth in care
- roles and responsibilities of caregivers
- supports provided to caregivers
Foster caregivers continue their training by completing a variety of courses on important topics. They receive in-depth information on trauma, loss, grief, child development and the unique identity and cultural connection needs of Indigenous children.
After orientation training, further training for kinship caregivers is not mandatory. Kinship caregivers, however, are encouraged and supported to take any of the training provided to foster caregivers.
All foster and kinship caregivers who care for infants 36 months of age or less take a specialized course on caring for infants.
Safe Babies Caregiver Education Program
Safe Babies provides important information for caregivers of vulnerable infants, on the following topics:
- alcohol and drug use during pregnancy and how it affects the infant
- understanding and empathizing with the complexity of the birth mother’s life and experience
- understanding and responding to the impact of substance abuse exposure on the infant
- coping with crying
- the effect of family violence on infants
- the effects of shaken baby syndrome and prevention
- self-care when looking after substance-exposed infants
- safe sleep practices
Ongoing contact and visit services
As a caregiver, you’ll have ongoing contact and visits from your foster or kinship care support worker and the child’s caseworker to ensure the needs of the child and the caregiver are both being met. This support includes access to respite care, further training, mentorship or in-home services.
Children’s Services offices or Delegated First Nation Agencies may have their own foster care newsletters, conferences, websites and support groups. Make sure to connect with your foster or kinship care support worker to ensure you’re getting local information and support.
Alberta Foster Kinship Association (AFKA)
The AFKA is a not-for-profit association that supports foster, kinship and adoptive families and acts as a liaison between foster families and Children’s Services. The association negotiates on behalf of caregivers for compensation and other supports.
Other services include:
- after-hours support line
- training and mentorship
- education bursary fund
- conflict resolution
- Caregiver Allegation Support Team (CAST)
- legal assistance
- extended property insurance
- conference and recognition events
For more information visit AFKA Online.
Foster Care Handbook
This in-depth guide provides an overview of how foster care works, responsibilities of the foster family, available supports and services, conflict resolution, parenting advice, documentation and record-keeping, and legal matters that can affect you.
Kinship Care Handbook
This guide provides information on practical everyday issues related to kinship care. This includes information on kinship care support and policy, caregiver roles, and how to work with the system to provide the best possible care for children living in your home.
Current Compensation Rate Schedule – July 1, 2016 (193 KB)
Fact sheet listing specific rates for the different types of compensation available to caregivers.
Compensation Guide for Foster and Kinship Caregivers
Guide with detailed information about how caregiver compensation works.
Find caregiver services in your area:
Toll free: 1-888-643-1889