At Chatham-Kent Children’s Services we believe that every child and youth need and deserve a place to feel safe, to belong to and to call home. With Signs of Safety as our philosophy/practice we build on a family’s strengths, promoting a stable and safe home for children and youth to grow up in.
Sometimes even after receiving help some parents cannot provide their children with adequate care. Child Protection workers assist families in exploring options such as a family member or someone familiar to a child that we refer to as kin. If there are no kin options available children may be brought into the care of the Society.
One of your greatest challenges is finding foster families for teens, for sibling groups and for children that may have experienced trauma, who struggle with hurt, anger and disappointment. For teens facing challenging times, having a family to turn to and to rely on can make all the difference. We need more families that are able to devote themselves to the children and youth of our community.
Chatham-Kent Children’s Services believes that children need safety, security and stability. If a child is not safe to remain with their biological family, and there are no kin options available we look to foster parents to help care for children. Foster Care is intended to be a short-term solution while we work with children and families hoping for reunification. Foster parents are there to provide a safe and nurturing home for as long as a child/youth need.
Foster to permanency is a child-centered model of fostering that limits the number of homes our children/youth will live in. When a child/youth is placed in a foster home the foster parents will work with the Society to return a child/youth back into their family. If a child/youth is not safe to live with their family and there is no kin available foster parents may obtain custody of a child/youth, adopt a child or maintain the child/youth through customary care for indigenous children.
- Single adults or couples
- Families just beginning to raise their own children, or families who have already finished raising children
- Adults with special skills or special childcare training
- Same sex couples or members of the LGBTQ2 community
- Homeowners or renters
- Stay at home adults or people who work outside of their home
- Any cultural, racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds
- Safe, caring and loving folks willing to provide a stable home for children/youth
- Willing to work with the Society and families to do what is best for the children/youth
- Willing to learn, participate in training and work as part of a team.
- Children ages newborn to teens
- Children/Youth that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of our community
- Children/Youth with medical needs that can also be medically fragile
- Children/Youth with emotional and behavioural challenges
- Children/Youth from the LGBTQ2 Community
- Children/Youth who may have developmental delays or need extra help to meet their developmental milestones
- Children/Youth that have families that love them but may not be able to care for them
- Children/Youth that may have experienced trauma, grief and loss
- Children/Youth with academic struggles
- Children/Youth that have been exposed to violence
- Children/Youth that have been exposed to worries such as drug and alcohol use
- Children/Youth who need a nurturing and safe home
Who to contact and how?
Chances are you have a lot of questions about the role of fostering, the children needing foster families, the application process and whether you meet the eligibility requirements. There are many things to consider before deciding to become a foster parent and we want to ensure you are making an informed decision by providing you the necessary information. We would be happy to answer all your questions. Please call 519-352-0440 and ask to speak with a Recruiter or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we hear from you, we will be happy to go over the next steps.
Things to consider when you are contacting us about foster to permanency:
- each child must have their own bed
- children over 6 cannot share a room with another child of the opposite gender nor can they share a room with an adult
- there will be a home safety check done and there will be some requirements i.e. each bedroom requires a smoke alarm
- a child cannot have a bedroom in an unfinished basement or attic
- having experience with raising children is an asset, not an expectation
- working foster parents must arrange for appropriate supervision for children and youth that is over the age of 16
- we have a smoking policy in effect that may limit foster parents that smoke if they are wanting to care for younger children
- a basic understanding of a child/youth’s needs and a willingness to learn is required
- love of children/youth, having a sense of optimism, humour, understanding and empathy are all assets in experiencing success as a foster family
- working respectfully and cordially with families of the children you care for is fundamental in working with children and families
First Step - Inquiry Process
With first contact we work with you to answer your questions and if you are interested, we will begin the process. We will complete an inquiry form and welcome you to an office visit to provide you with an application. Consent forms for our CPIN (Child Protection Information Network) data base which will allow us to complete a records check. This will be signed at this face to face meeting. It is important to bring photo ID such as Driver’s License or Passport to this visit.
It will then be up to you as the applicant to complete the application form and return it at your convenience to Chatham-Kent Children’s Services. Once the application is received you will be contacted by a Recruiter to assign you to a PRIDE Training Class. These classes generally are offered twice a year.
Next Steps - Training and Approval Process
PRIDE Training (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education):
Pride training is a mandatory 9-part training session designed to provide you with the basic tools needed to successfully foster or adopt a child. Sessions are facilitated by a Recruitment Worker and a Foster Parent. Each in class session is approximately 3 hours in duration. There are 6 competencies reviewed in this training which include:
- Protecting and Nurturing Children
- Meeting Children’s Developmental Need and Addressing Developmental Delays
- Supporting Relations between Children and their Families
- Connecting Children to Safe, Nurturing Relationships Intended to Last a Lifetime
- Participating as a Member of a Professional Team
- Reinforcing a Child’s Heritage and Cultural Identity
This training is only the beginning of training that will benefit in your fostering journey. These sessions must be completed by each caregiver as part of the application process. Other training such as Safe Sleep and Car Seat Training is also offered and provided.
S.A.F.E. Home Study
The S.A.F.E. (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) home study is a mandatory assessment complete by a Resource Worker after PRIDE training is completed. This mutual evaluation includes 4 to 6 interviews in the home and we meet with everyone residing in the home over the age of 6.
Some of the expectations required during this assessment include:
- Police Record Check for Service with the Vulnerable Sector
- Child Welfare Record Search
- Medical Report for each member living in the home
- Personal References
- SAFE financial
All the information collected about your family allows the assessor to determine if your family is a good fit for the extraordinary expectations of our foster/foster to permanency program.
|People who are single can’t become foster parents.||
Some things that are TRUE:
- You do need to be able to speak and write English well enough to communicate with Family and Children’s Services worker as well as maintain daily logs while the children are in your home.
- Most children who come into foster care return to their families after a brief or longer period of time; it can be tough to say good-bye to a child you have been caring for. Your Resource Worker will support you and your family during this transition.
- If you are going through some challenging times in your family life, we’d encourage you to wait until things settle down before applying to foster.
Once you are an approved foster/foster to permanency home you are assigned a Resource Worker who will with your support and guide. In addition, you will work with a Children’s Services Worker who supports children/youth in care and an Ongoing Worker that supports the family.
Other Supports and Resources
- Daily non-taxable reimbursement called per diem per day per child for living expenses
- Coverage for medical, dental and eye care
- Coverage for clothing, school expenses, daily allowance
- Some coverage for recreational activities, camps
- Ongoing training and education
- Signs of Safety Mapping and other tools
- Internal resources such as mental health and development support
- Mental Health Drop in program
- Support from the Child and Family Wellbeing Team for one to one and in-home supports when required
- Support from your Foster Parent Association
- Volunteer Drives when required
- External Resources when needed
Why foster a teen?
- They are worth the time and effort
- They are learning to navigate a world that can be difficult to manage at times
- Helping them can result in a better community overall
- They are often dealing with much hardship but demonstrate determination and resilience
- They teach us perseverance, and perspective
- They deserve someone to care for them, to protect them and to advocate for them
- They need someone to be patient, understanding, kind and empathetic
- They need someone to be their cheerleader, celebrating their achievements, and helping them through their disappointments
- They often have limited resources and need someone to help them learn life skills
- They deserve to be supported, loved and encouraged.
- They are at the beginning of life and need you to be there to teach them, listen to them and celebrate all that they can be.