Currently in Alberta, there are thousands of children living in foster care. There are also hundreds more in need of a foster care placement.
Sarah Legere, a foster parent recruiter, notes that, “a child is placed in a foster home when their home situation isn’t safe, or their needs aren’t being met.”
A foster family provides the child with a safe and loving environment. Here the child can experience stability, healthy family dynamics, and learn positive life skills regardless of how long their placement lasts.
The goal of foster care is to return the child to their birth family as soon as possible. However, when that’s not what is in the best interest of the child, foster homes can provide long-term stability.
What does it take to be a foster parent? Agencies like ours help attract, train, and support foster parents so they can provide the best possible care to children in need.
“Fostering is one of the most varied, challenging, and rewarding experiences a parent can have,” said Légère. “That being said,” she continues, “foster parents also have to look at fostering like a job. There’s paperwork to fill out, meetings to attend, and classes to take. There are so many supports around the child that providing them a safe environment to live is only one aspect.”
Opening a foster home involves going through a screening process and a criminal record check. Home licensing requirements, character references, and extensive training are also part of the process. While there is a tax-free per diem stipend provided to foster parents to support the child’s needs, the benefits cannot be measured in financial gain.
“We need to find homes within our communities that can meet the needs of children of all ages and backgrounds,” said Jo-Ann Klapstein, Director of Foster Care at Crossroads. “Foster parents, too, come from all walks of life and we’re looking for those who have what it takes to love, respect, and support these kids so they feel safe and experience success.”
Since its inception in 1999, Crossroads has cared for thousands of children in Alberta. Currently over 100 children are in the care of foster families with Crossroads, but more families are needed and calls for placements come in daily.
Anyone interested in finding out more about fostering can contact Crossroads at 780-430-7715 or 1-877-430-7715.