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What is fostering?

Fostering is caring for children who cannot live with their families. The goal is for children to return home when their parents are able to care safely for them.

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Fostering is a family opening their home and sharing their love, nurturing and caring with children who temporarily cannot live with their own families. It is a family helping others in their community, and has immense rewards for both family and foster children. It is about helping meet the needs of each individual child. Foster families help children maintain contact with their own family, community and culture.

Foster parenting is:

  • An opportunity to make a difference.
  • Caring for a child who may have been abused or neglected.
  • A commitment to help children and their families through a difficult period.
  • Learning and developing the parenting skills needed to meet each child's unique needs.
  • Foster Parenting Makes a Difference in So Many Lives (PDF)
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Why Foster Parent? A Parent's Story

I can tell you that if you take the first step into the world of fostering you will be amazed. It will, at first overcome you, but most of all it will change your life forever.

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The kids that come into care will most definitely challenge you. I can tell you though, this will pass and what will be left in most cases is a child who needs you and your love.

The rewards in fostering are many, from seeing their successes at school or getting and keeping a job or fighting an addiction, or being part of a positive return to their families. I can tell you, you may not see or reap the rewards immediately, but they will come.

For some kids you will be the one person who will help them realize their potential. It is our role to not give up on these kids and show them what they are capable of. We must prove to them that there are people that love them and they matter. You will give these children the gift of knowing that they have someone that they can count on.

As the president of the Fraser Valley Foster Parents Association, I am honoured to be a part of the Fostering world. I can tell you it has changed my life, and my own children's lives. We have always known we were blessed, but I don't think we knew just how much until we entered the world of fostering.

Become a foster parent today. Change your life better yet change the life of a child in care. We all can make a difference one child at a time.

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Do All Foster Parents Provide the Same Care?

No. Children's needs range from reasonably straightforward to very complex. A range of foster parents are needed with various levels of training, skills and experience.

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Restricted foster parents care for children they know or who are related to their family.

Regular foster parents care for children of varying ages and needs who are usually not known or related to the foster family.

Specialized foster parents care for children with mental or physical disabilities, or emotional or behavioural problems. Specialized foster families are designated as Level 1, 2 or 3, depending on the foster parent's education, experience, knowledge, skills and abilities. Specialized foster parents are recognized as 'professional parents' and are compensated for their ability to respond to a child's individual needs.

Respite foster parents take children for short periods, so the children's parents or the children's foster parents can have a few days without the children.

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What Types of Children and Youth Need Care?

Children in foster care range in age from infants to youth of 19 years. Children come from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds, and many children come into care with their siblings. Every effort is made to place siblings together in foster homes.

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Children in foster care range in age from infants to youth of 19 years. They come from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds, and many children come into care with their siblings. Every effort is made to place siblings together in foster homes.

Children in care may have emotional or behavioural problems or physical or mental difficulties. They may come from a family who may be experiencing an illness (e.g. substance misuse, mental health), marital problems, or parent/child conflicts.

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Who Can Foster?

Residents of BC who are 19 years or older can apply, singles or couples, with or without children. Stable, healthy and mature adults who enjoy caring for children or youth.

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Characteristics of Successful Foster Parents

  • Patient and tolerant
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Caring and loving
  • Ability to support without conditions
  • Able to have realistic expectations of themselves and children
  • Ability to take things as they come
  • Are open and cooperative
  • Have structure and consistency in their lives
  • Have a good solid support system
  • Do not believe in or use physical punishment
  • Willing to lose their privacy and become a public parent
  • Good sense of humour
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How Much are Foster Parents Paid?

Foster care is not employment. Families choose to foster because of a concern for children and a desire to contribute something special to their community.

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There is a monthly maintenance payment to foster parents to cover the direct costs of caring for a child. However, foster parents are not expected to give up employment. There is also a service payment available for the three levels of specialized foster care. The service payment recognizes the primary foster parent's special parenting skill and extra time required to meet the needs of a child, but is not considered to be employment income.

Rates vary with the type of care provided. Your local ministry office or delegated Aboriginal child and family services agency can provide details. You will also find information on rates in the Foster Care Monthly Rates Card (PDF) or at the following website: http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/foster/monthly_rates.htm

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How Do I Get Started?

Opening your heart and your home to a foster child will forever change a child's life and yours. While not an easy decision to make, we hope you will explore and evaluate the idea thoroughly.

The Fraser Region provides residential resource services through Mainstream MCFD Services, MCFD Aboriginal Services, Delegated Aboriginal services and Métis Family Services. For more information, please call the office in the community where you live. Someone will answer your questions and invite you to an information session.

Click here for a chart which diagrams the application process.

Click here for more information on getting started.