To the community,
We need your help. Plain and simple, there is a crisis looming in child welfare that Children’s Aid Societies across our province are facing … a steady decline in available foster families for the young people who come into our care. Without local foster families to provide safe and nurturing homes, many children and youth will face the prospect of being placed in homes or group homes outside of their communities, leaving them separated from extended family, friends and all important local community resources that are familiar to them.
In 2011/12, the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society had 146 foster homes. As of today, that number has declined to 93 homes. This means that of the 230 children and youth currently in our care, close to 30 of them must reside in group or privately-operated paid foster care which is not associated with our organization. We don’t think that is acceptable and neither should you. Sixty per cent of children in care of KHCAS are over the age of 12 years, yet 10 per cent of our current foster homes can support youth and young adults.
You have the power to change this. The goal of our Fostering Changes Futures media campaign, which began this summer, is to recruit 20 approved foster families by the end of March 2018 with six of those families willing to support children over the age of 12. Support services are provided to foster families to assist them to meet the needs of the young people they welcome into their home.
The face of fostering has changed over the years, just as our definition of “family” has continued to evolve. Meeting a young person’s needs is our primary focus and so we continually seek additional foster parents who will provide the best possible match for them. That means if you are a professional couple with no children, a family with your own biological children, a same sex couple, a single person or an empty nester, you can apply to become a foster parent and it may be the best thing you ever do.
National Foster Family Week is celebrated from October 15-21 this year. It was an honour to join our resource and child in care teams in celebrating the contributions of foster families on Wednesday, Oct. 18. When children, for whatever reason, are unable to reside with their parents or caretaker, foster families provide stability, love and support. In many circumstances, foster families become life-long supports to vulnerable young people in care. There has never been a better time to make that call to KHCAS as a first step in learning more about fostering. You are not making a commitment by calling, you are just finding out if this is something that could be right for you.
It truly does take a village to raise a child. We must all ask the question: if a child is not able, for any number of reasons, to live at home where should they live? Please call today. Children and youth in need in our community are counting on it.