Foster Families Week set for this month
A week-long celebration that recognizes the valuable contribution made by foster families to children in care, their families and the community is scheduled for Oct. 21-27.
Foster Families Week 2012 is being staged at a time of significant change in the way the children-incare program is provided in this province.
These changes have been highlighted in the new continuum of care strategy, which was introduced by the provincial government.
The strategy focuses on recruiting and retaining foster families to provide supportive, nurturing care to the province’s most vulnerable children and youth.
It’s been well documented that there’s a critical shortage of foster homes in this province.
As such, the province has earmarked a total expenditure of $18.4 million over the next two years, with the aim to eliminate current Alternate Living Arrangements by implementing a new system consisting of four levels — kinship care; foster care, specialized foster care, and, staffed residential care.
Alternate Living Arrangements are staffed emergency homes for children and youth who could be placed in a foster home if one was available.
The new system will provides compensation specific to each level by recognizing the experiences, training, and skills of foster parents and matching children and youth with a foster family who best meets their specific needs.
The implementation of this level system w i l l be suppor ted by enhanced training that will be developed throughout 2012.
In particular, Level 1 Kinship Homes will see a significant monetary increase. They will move from the e x i s t i n g C h i l d We l f a re Allowance, which had one rate for the whole province, to the current basic foster care rate which is much higher and recognizes increased costs in Labrador. It is expected that many existing foster families will see increases as well as a restructuring of how compensation is provided. None of these families will see a decrease.
The strategy also provides an improved approach to funding for foster families by implementing block funding. This means foster parents will be reimbursed for certain costs, such as social recreation, transportation, and weekend respite, in the form of a block transfer of funds rather than having to submit requests individually, and wait for approval and reimbursement.
“The development of these enhancements is very positive news for the foster care program in our province,” said Diane Molloy, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association.
“Our association is looking forward to continuing to work with the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services as the new continuum of care strategy is released.” Drawing and writing contest Meanwhile, as part of the celebrations, a provincial drawing and writing contest is being staged. This contest is open to all school age children and youth, and is designed to increase awareness about foster care.
Winners will be announced during Foster Family Week and prizes will be presented at the winners’ school.
The deadline to receive applications is Oct. 5.
A kick-off event will be held on Sunday, Oct. 21 at Corpus Christi Parish Centre on Waterford Bridge Road in St. John’s.
For more, call 754-0213, or toll free at 877-754-0218.