Recognizing the importance of foster families
We all have a responsibility for the well-being of the children of our province.
Happy Foster Families Week to all our foster parents throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Words seem so inadequate when we want to express appreciation to you.
You are parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, leaders, team players, and that’s before any job you may have outside your home. You reach out to others and touch hearts every day. You mend hurts, build relationships, support families, and make this world a better place by opening your hearts and homes. Thanks for everything you do for children and families in our communities.
Currently there are approximately 580 foster families in our province and the number of children coming into care continues to increase. I want to take this opportunity as we celebrate Foster Families Week to reach out to the other 265,159 households in our province. I want to ask you to think about your family dynamics and to seriously consider if you have what it takes to become a foster family.
What does it take you may be wondering. It takes an interest in wanting to support children and youth and help a family in your community. It takes an open heart and an open mind that allows you to understand that any family can have struggles. It takes patience, time and commitment. But most of all, it takes an ability to love and let … knowing that you have helped a child along their life journey.
So what do you get in return, because let’s be honest that is also important. You get an amazing feeling of satisfaction knowing that you are helping others, you meet some awesome children and youth who teach you something new every day, you get to build relationships with birth families that can last long after a child goes back home, you meet social workers who offer their skill and expertise and you join a Foster Families Association that is there to support you on your fostering journey.
On top of all that you receive a financial compensation package that is one of the best in the country to help meet the needs of the children placed in your home. Foster parents can be single or in a relationship; employed or receiving income support; renter or home owner; or any age 25 and above.
In case I have made it sound like being a foster family is all sunshine and roses, I need to let you know that there are challenges but our foster parents would tell you that it is one of the best things they have ever done in their life. The intrinsic reward you get from making a difference for others, particularly children, overrides any of the challenges that arise.
As we celebrate Foster Families Week 2018, if you are a foster family take the time to reflect on the children who have lived in your home and the difference you have made in their lives. If you are not a foster parent, maybe you could make a phone call to get more information or encourage someone else to consider fostering. Perhaps we all could simply thank a foster family for all they do to support our communities. We all have a responsibility for the well-being of the children of our province.