While foster and kin families play a significant role in the well-being of many children and youth year-round, National Foster Family Week provides Children’s Aid Societies with an opportunity to formally recognize their important contributions and let the public know that without the dedication, love and commitment these individuals provide to the young people in our care, we would not be able to do our work. This year National Foster Family Week is recognized from October 19th to 25th.
This special week also helps to bring attention to the fact that many Children’s Aid Societies face a continued need for foster parents. At Highland Shores Children’s Aid and at the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society finding foster parents who are the best possible match for teens, sibling groups and children or youth with special needs continues to be a priority.
Foster and kin parents work closely with CASs to provide temporary care of children and youth many of whom can have complex needs. While the Society’s first preference is always for a young person to remain with their biological family, this is not always possible in situations where the safety or well-being of a child or youth is at risk. At times like these, foster families step in to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for a few days, weeks, months or possibly years. Foster Parents can also assist the Society in helping to prepare children for reunification with their biological families, or for a permanent home with an adoptive family.
"National Foster Family Week provides us with a great opportunity to thank our current foster and kin families who make such a difference in the lives of the children and youth in our care. However, it also allows us to clarify some common misconceptions about who can become a foster parent. Today, foster parents represent a wide variety of religions, cultures or lifestyles. One thing they all share however is a common desire to provide a young person in need with a family environment. We encourage anyone who is interested in making a lasting difference to contact the Society to explore how fostering may be right for them", explained Jennifer Wilson, Executive Director of the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society.
Highland Shores Children’s Aid Executive Director, Mark Kartusch recognizes that being a foster parent is not easy. ""Being a foster parent takes commitment yet we find that many families who make the decision to open their homes to young people often end up doing so over extended periods of time. While no family can ever replace a child or youth’s biological family ties, foster families offer a supportive and caring environment when needed."
The two societies will recognize the efforts of their foster and kin families with events held this month and extend their appreciation for the work of foster parents each and every day.