Province lacking in foster homes
There is currently a shortage of foster homes throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. No matter how many times I say this out loud, I still hear surprised responses from people who appear to be hearing this for the first time.
Foster homes provide a nurturing and supportive home environment to children who are temporarily unable to live with their biological parents. Our foster families are dedicated and caring people who open their hearts and homes to the children of our province. Their work is to be commended. However, they also need your support. This support can be shown by putting your name forward for consideration to become a foster parent, or at least asking questions to find out more about the application process.
We must consider that there are some communities without any foster homes. In these communities, when children come into care, they have to travel outside of their home community to be placed in a foster home. In addition to the loss of their family home, they also lose the familiarity of their community, friends and their school. Being placed in a foster home in another community results in additional travel time for children to and from school, and to and from parental visits, etc.
Another significant problem caused by the lack of homes is that when siblings come into care, they sometimes cannot be placed in a foster home together, at a time when they need each other the most. Consider for a moment having to leave your home and your parents. Now, imagine the additional trauma of having to experience this alone, without the comfort of your sibling(s).
Due to not having enough foster homes, current homes are sometimes overloaded, taking more children into their homes than is ideal. This results in an overburdened system and sometimes even having unrealistic expectations of current foster homes.
I am writing this letter to appeal to readers to think about becoming foster parents. This does not have to be a lifetime commitment of 10 or 20 years. Rather, providing temporary care for one child would be enough to make a difference in our current over- burdened system if enough people came forward.
Remember, caring for our children is a community responsibility, and the children of this great province need you!
Anyone interested in finding out more can call the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association at (709) 754-0213 or 1-877-754-0218 (Toll Free), or your local Child, Youth and Family Services Office. For more information, you may also check out our website at www.nlffa.com.