By Chelsea Sproule, Wood’s Homes Foster Care Support Worker
Wood’s Homes has worked to find caring and stable homes for foster children for more than a century. Today, our Foster Care Network not only offers a number of foster home and group living arrangements, but also provides training, remuneration and ongoing services to assist all of our foster parents.
In the spirit of National Foster Family Appreciation Week, I wanted to share a few interesting and surprising things I’ve learned about foster care over the past month in my new role as Foster Care Support Worker:
- Foster parents sometimes choose to become permanent guardians or adopt the infant, child or youth.
I recently listened to Beth – a Wood’s Homes foster parent – share her incredible story about becoming a private guardian for her daughter, Holly. Holly lived with Beth and her family for the first three years of her life before Beth decided to apply for permanent guardianship. However, because Holly was Aboriginal, there were some extra challenges Beth faced in becoming her legal guardian; she needed to prove there was no one in Holly’s Aboriginal community who was able/willing to care for her. After many months of uncertainty and worries, it was determined by law that Beth had provided a wonderful home for Holly and she could permanently remain Holly’s mother.
This brought us all to tears. Although I already knew this was a possibility, I think it’s a really special part of foster care that needs to be shared a little more. Both Beth and Holly are lucky to have found one another through Wood’s Homes Foster Care Network, and it’s obvious they now have a very special relationship.
- Foster families at Wood’s Homes are very diverse.
Approximately 70% of foster children in Alberta are Aboriginal, and keeping children and youth connected to their Aboriginal communities is a huge priority for us and our foster families. Many of them participate in drumming and dancing, and attend other cultural activities together. Aboriginal Awareness Training is also a mandatory requirement when becoming a foster parent through Wood’s Homes.
We also have a large Filipino presence among our families, along with Nigerian and Caucasian.
- Foster parents often bring children into their homes for many years.
Infants can be placed into foster care immediately after birth and can stay in care until they become adults. Prior to working in the Foster Care Network, I didn’t realize how long many children and youth stay in foster care. One of our clients has been in a Wood’s Homes foster home for 10 years! This is a wonderful example of the dedication that can be found in our foster families.
Are you interested in becoming a foster parent? Check out 5 reasons to become a foster parent.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!