Fostercare

Foster Care

Providing foster care means caring for children or youth who are unable to live with their birth families during difficult periods. When you decide to be a foster parent you play an important role in providing children with a safe, supportive home, regardless of whether it’s a short term or long term commitment.

Foster families support children by:

  • providing a nurturing, protective environment
  • meeting their developmental needs
  • supporting relationships between children and their birth families
  • connecting children to safe, nurturing relationships
  • being part of a professional team

There are five different categories of fostering available to Nova Scotians. Foster parents may choose to be available for more than one of these roles, and together with the agency, can discuss what options might be best for them.

  1. Full Time foster parents look after the majority of children who need care. This category looks after children who do not require specialized care. They receive training, have access to supports, and receive reimbursements toward the costs associated with fostering.
  2. Emergency foster parents are available to take children on short notice and provide care and support until a longer term arrangement can be made. If you become an emergency foster parent, you could receive calls any time of the day or night, and would need to care for children of all ages coming into care for a variety of circumstances. Emergency foster parents require special skills and compassion to help the child understand what is happening to their families and provide stability while the child is in their care.
  3. Part Time respite foster parents take children for short periods of time when the other foster parents need some relief for various reasons. These breaks are planned and can occur once or on a regular basis throughout the year (such as one weekend per month).
  4. Specialized foster parents work with children who have challenging emotional, behavioural or medical needs. These parents require special skills and training.
  5. Kinship foster parents care for children who are previously known to them. These homes are only approved for a specific child or sibling group. These families are relatives, neighbors or close friends of the family.

Providing foster care means caring for children or youth who are unable to live with their birth families during difficult periods. When you decide to be a foster parent you play an important role in providing children with a safe, supportive home, regardless of whether it’s a short term or long term commitment.

Like all children, children in care need predictability and routine throughout their days and nights. Foster parents provide that critical sense of normal life when the child’s life is anything but normal. From regular mealtimes to getting them ready for school, helping with homework, encouraging them to make friends, learn and have fun, foster parents make foster children part of their regular family life.

Foster families support children by:

  • providing a nurturing, protective environment
  • meeting their developmental needs
  • supporting relationships between children and their birth families
  • connecting children to safe, nurturing relationships
  • being part of a professional team

A child or youth requires foster care when his or her parents voluntarily transfer care or when the court makes a legal ruling based on the child’s well-being. During this period, child welfare social workers and staff will help the child’s family create the kind of stable environment that will enable the child to return home.

Every child is an individual, so placements are based on individual needs. If available, relatives and family friends are often the first choice for foster parents, but if not, the child or youth is placed in a foster home or other residential setting.

Foster parents are as diverse as the children they foster.

Foster parents are ordinary people who do extraordinary things. And they are as diverse as the children they foster. They are men and women or same sex couples, single and married, homeowners and renters, young families and empty nesters, who come from many cultural, racial and religious backgrounds. The one trait all foster parents share is a commitment to care for children and youth who are unable to live in their own homes.

You can apply to be a foster parent if you’re 19 or over, a resident of Nova Scotia, and willing to participate in training and an assessment.

You don’t have to be a parent or have worked with kids to be a foster parent (although it doesn’t hurt). But you do have to be caring, committed, optimistic, patient, and willing to work as a part of a team.

Becoming a foster parent is an important decision. We’d be more than happy to help you make it. To get started, please call 1-800-565-1884.

There are several steps in the process of becoming a foster parent:

  1. You’ll call 1-800-565-1884 and talk to someone who will take your information.
  2. A social worker will contact you, answer your questions and invite you to an information session, where you’ll get an application package and discuss your questions.
  3. You’ll complete your paperwork, including a police check, Child Abuse Register check, references, etc.
  4. You’ll be invited to PRIDE pre-service – a nine session training program to help prepare you for becoming a foster parent.
  5. After PRIDE pre-service, a social worker contact you to start your foster care assessment.

During the assessment and approval process you’ll be involved in identifying the kind of child you are able to foster. Finding a good match between child and foster family is important for everyone. You’ll get help and support to make sure you’re paired with the right child and the placement is rewarding for everyone.

For more information on becoming a foster parent call 1-800-565-1884

For more information on becoming a foster parent call the Department of Community Services at 1-800-565-1884.