In search of foster parents
By Chad Ingram
The Kawartha Haliburton Children’s Aid Society is asking residents of Haliburton County, along with those of the City of Kawartha Lakes and Peterborough, to consider becoming foster parents.
“Please step forward and show children in our community that you are there and that you care for them,” Jennifer Wilson, the society’s executive director, said in a release. “These are community children – and the community shares responsibility for helping them in their time of crisis.”
As the release indicates, children do best with minimal disruption to their lives, so the goal is to keep them in their own communities where they can continue to attend their schools, partake in their regular activities, and be close to friends and family.
“Without local foster parents, many children and youth are placed in foster homes outside of their community – leaving them far away from people they love and the familiar supports and resources they rely on,” Wilson said in the release. “This has even greater impact for children and elevates traumatic experiences for children during a very difficult time in their life – when they most need a sense of normal, close to the people they know and love.”
Foster parents look after children for a temporary period, as the Children’s Aid Society works with their families to re-establish a safe home environment.
“Kids need you,” Wendy Gordon, the society’s foster care supervisor, said in the release. “Individuals from all communities and backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to apply. We would love to talk to you and answer questions you may have about fostering.”
The society welcomes foster parents of all faiths, genders, and sexual orientation.
“There is a need for foster parents who support children’s religious, cultural, and racial backgrounds and support children and youth who identify as 2SLGBTQ+,” the release reads.
“Children come into the care of Kawartha-Haliburton CAS for many reasons and the needs of children in care vary,” reads the agency’s website. “Children and youth may present with a range of emotional and/or behavioural challenges; they are in care for varying lengths of time and many will return to the care of the parent or caretaker. The challenge for the foster family is to provide the physical and emotional support to children, while recognizing the difficulty of letting go when a permanent plan is implemented.”
According to the website, in order to become foster parents, applicants must be at least 21 years of age, have stable physical and emotional health, finances and family relationships, complete a vulnerable sector screening test with the police, and be approved through a thorough assessment process. Nearly 30 hours of pre-service training is required before the completion of a home study as part of this process. Foster parents may rent or own their home, and may work. It is the responsibility of working foster parents to arrange suitable supervision for children while they are at work.
Anyone looking for more information about foster parenting can visit the Kawartha Haliburton Children’s Aid Society website at https://www.khcas.on.ca/our-