Foster care should be a temporary stop on the road to permanency. It is the place where the journey for a child or youth in need of a safe home begins – whether it leads back home, to kinship care or adoption.
Could you be a resource parent?
Being a resource parent (or foster parent) can be a challenging role at times, but you are giving a deserving child or youth the safe home, care and support they will need for a successful future. We need resource parents who are committed to helping children and youth on a positive journey to adulthood. With our goal to ensure permanency, our priority is to work with families so children and youth can return home or live with extended family. When this isn’t possible, our vision is for foster parents to take on the role of adoptive parents, if and when a child or youth needs them. If you are single, a family with children at home or out of the home, a single parent, a retired or stay at home parent, or a couple with no children you can apply to become a resource parent. You must be a resident of Renfrew County and either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.
The Children and Youth In Need of Care
The kids we help are all different. They come from diverse ethnic, cultural and religious family backgrounds. Each child is a unique individual with a unique set of needs. Children and youth come into care because of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect or abandonment, or because of parental capacity issues. The process of coming into care is often traumatic and each child or youth copes differently. Some children will have medical or developmental conditions that require special support. Family and Children’s Services provides ongoing help to each of our foster families.
How are family connections maintained?
Throughout a child or youth’s time in care, there is regularly scheduled access with significant members of their family. This can vary in both frequency and duration. The role of a resource parent is to support a child or youth prior to and after these visits. The resource parent is a conduit between a child/youth and their family.
If a child/youth’s legal status supports a move to the probationary stage of adoption, maintaining family relationships will shift from simply having access to an open relationship. Openness can either be through an order or an agreement, and could range from an annual photo, a letter or face to face contact between birth families and children or youth. This connection helps adoptive parents be better parents and helps reduce the trauma of separation and loss for children and youth. The degree of openness a child needs with birth parents, a birth parent wishes, or what an adoptive family can accept, is carefully considered early in the adoption process.
What are the steps to becoming a resource parent?
The process for becoming a foster parent takes time and training. Here is an overview of the process:
- Contact us: Please complete the fields below and let us know you are interested in becoming a foster parent in the comments section.
- We contact you: One of our resource workers will contact you to gather some basic information and arrange a meeting to collect more detailed information as well as explain the application and approval process, answer any questions you might have and determine your fit and readiness for this process.
- Training and Assessment: You will be required to take specialized training called PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education). This is Ontario’s mandatory, standardized curriculum for applicants and consists of a minimum of 27 hours of training.
- We conduct a SAFE Assessment: SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) is Ontario’s standardized home study format for all applicants. This process combines interviews (approx. 4 to 6) and assessment tools to determine your further eligibility, suitability and readiness to become a Resource parent.
- Approval: Once you have completed PRIDE training and your SAFE assessment and have been recommended for ‘approval’, your home is open for placement. Your resource worker will support you on an on-going basis as you work with Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County.
- Placement: A placement in your home might occur quickly, or many weeks or months can go by without a match. If a placement request is viewed as a potential match to your home, you will be contacted to fully review the child/youth’s profile. Once the match is made, placement will occur.
Foster to Adopt
We know it is essential that children in care experience the least amount of disruption possible and the Foster to Adopt model supports this. In this care option, a child’s placement begins as foster care and it calls for resource parents to take on the role of adoptive parents if and when a child becomes legally available for adoption.
If a child or youth becomes eligible for adoption, the shift begins to the resource parent(s) being their full legal parent(s) when the Adoption Probation period begins. An adoption worker will meet with the resource family on a regular basis to provide support, to gather information for the ROACH (Report On the Adjustment of the Child to the Home), and assist in completing all the necessary legal documentation. This process can take upwards of one year.