By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
National Foster Family Week is from Oct. 16-22 and many local Lethbridge County-based parents are doing some amazing work.
“We have foster parents in Lethbridge County and Coaldale specifically but there’s a real need for more in the area,” said Alan Chant, placement recruitment co-ordinator with the South Region Alberta Child and Family Services.
The Canadian Foster Family Association, according to the organization’s website, is a national organization incorporated in 1987 with a mandate to speak as a collective voice for foster families throughout the country. Its primary goal is to enhance the quality of care provided to children in Canada.
What children services tries to do, Chant explained, is to keep kids of all ages connected to their communities and families they come from.
“While we try to work on the issues that may be going on in the family and work towards a possible return or work towards a better option or maybe looking for an extended family,” he said.
Chant said the goal is to keep kids of all ages connected to the community they are placed in to continue with schools and activities, which includes family and friends.
“That’s why we have that need. To look in these other smaller communities outside of Lethbridge,” he added.
Anyone with a desire to make a change in a child’s life or provide some stability is what the organization looks for in a foster parent.
“We have people that are retired, we have people that are involved in the trades and are working, we have families with both parents working and they have another room for a child in the home, or maybe an older child has moved out of the home and they have a room and they have a spot in their family and they want to include another person in their family,” said Chant.
But, there’s always a very specific need for people who are willing to consider having an older teenager in their home.
“Sometimes they just need some stability in their life. They just need somebody who is going to be there and listen to them,” he said.
Those interested in possibly becoming a foster parent can visit the South Region Child and Family Services office in Lethbridge, located in the Lethbridge Centre Mall or call 403-388-7651.
After a successful background check including a criminal record check and a child intervention check, a home study and 24 hours of training, a medical assessment and references — foster parents can also receive tax free compensation.
“The organization also pays for medical expenses, recreation and provides a vacation allowance for the children,” he noted.
For more information visit online at canadianfosterfamilyassociation.ca.