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Getting Started


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Do I have to be married to be a foster parent?
Foster parents are single, married or living common law.  They have diverse cultural backgrounds, religions, and sexual orientations.  There are foster parents who do not have children, others are raising their children, and some are grandparents.  

Can I work full time and still be a foster parent?
Many foster parents work full time.  They are responsible for arranging before and after school supervision for the foster child.  A child of pre school age requires one parent to remain in the home to care for them.

Do I have a say in the decision of which child is placed in my home?
A foster family will be approached by a social worker with information regarding a foster child.  The foster family has the opportunity to decide whether the placement would be a good match.  In addition, during the homestudy process, you have the opportunity to discuss the qualities and characteristics of your family that would best suit the special needs of a child.

Who makes the decisions regarding the foster child’s education?
Foster parents are the providers of care, but are not the legal guardians of foster children.  Your opinions are requested and valued, however decisions regarding education are made by the agency.

Does the foster child attend my doctor or do I take the child to their own family physician?
If there is a lengthy health history, it would be in the child’s best interest to remain with their own physician.  Otherwise, the foster family’s physician may see the foster child.  It is important to speak with the agency social worker to receive a recommendation.  The agency provides extended health care coverage for all foster children.

I’m planning to go on vacation.  Can my foster child accompany me?
The foster child becomes a member of your family and can go on vacation with you.  It is necessary to let the agency social worker know of your intentions so that your foster child’s visits with their family will not be compromised.  Out of province trips require a special letter from the agency.

What is your policy on smoking in the home?
We expect that foster parents be non-smokers, and live in a smoke free environment, if they are fostering children under the age of 3.  For children over the age of 3, we require that foster parents provide a smoke free environment (home).  Foster parents who smoke will only smoke outside.  

Can a foster child share a bedroom?
Foster children can share a bedroom under specific circumstances.  A foster child over the age of 6 can only share a room with a child of the same gender.  No adult can sleep in the same room as a foster child. 

What is meant by the need for stability to become a foster parent?
All children, and especially foster children, require stability, consistency and security.  We are looking for homes where you are managing your life with the fewest stresses possible.  The following examples are some of the circumstances which may affect your ability to provide stability to a foster child.

Finances: 
You don’t have to be wealthy, and we will consider people on assistance.  However, your financial situation should not be negatively affecting your family functions, and adding a child to your home should not cause a financial burden.

Family Situations: 
If you’re involved in a family situation (separation, divorce, poor health, recent loss, behaviour problems, CAS intervention) then now may not be a good time to foster.  You are probably already busy with things that require your attention and energy.  Fostering would take away from those other situations.  It would not be fair to the foster child or you.

Family Planning: 
You may be considering starting a family of your own.  As such, your attention and energy is directed to this priority. The needs and demands of a foster child may stretch your limits. 

History of Abuse, Loss or Other Difficult Circumstances: 
You may have experienced challenges in your life that have been very stressful on you.  Examples include death of a loved one, separation/divorce and abuse.  Such experiences often make people stronger and provide skills to cope with similar situations in the future.  However, unresolved issues may be triggered by the grief expressed by a foster child.  We will want to discuss your history to determine if you have successfully dealt with your experiences.  Each situation is different and we will speak with you about your individual circumstances.  We do recognize that all families experience minor stresses and regular worries.  It is the big ones that concern us, as we do not want a foster child placed in a stressful home environment, nor do we want you to become over stressed with the extra demands of a new person in your home and working with the child welfare system.

Thank you for your interest in caring for a child!

For more information about becoming a foster parent, send us an email foster.adoption@facswaterloo.org.  Or, call 519-576-0540 and ask for a Foster Parent Recruitment Worker.  We would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

 
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