Town salutes foster parents, families

Foster parents and families in the Stettler area are being recognized this week for their dedication and care for children and youth

Foster parents and families in the Stettler area are being recognized this week for their dedication and care for children and youth in their homes.

“It makes a difference in people’s lives and that’s important,” said Mayor Dick Richards, who locally proclaimed National Foster Family Week from Oct. 22 to 27.

“National Foster Family Week gives us the opportunity to say thank you and recognize the important contributions foster families make to support families,” said Laverne MacKenzie, supervisor for Child and Family Services in Stettler.

Encompassing the Stettler area, the central Alberta region enrolls 417 foster and kinship homes with about 500 children and youth in care, said Rhonda Coubrough, regional manager of public relations for Central Alberta Child and Family Services Authority.

“We want to celebrate foster parents and caregivers who care for children and youth in their homes and get the message out that more are needed in communities like Stettler,” MacKenzie said.

“Our heartfelt thanks go to foster parents who are the heroes among us.”

Whenever possible, children and youth in care are placed in their home communities.

Kinship care might be an option when extended family, or those who have a significant relationship with a child, can play an important role.

Foster parents are selected from lengthy criteria, which includes that they have not had an additional child in the past 12 months and/or are not currently expecting an additional child thorough pregnancy or adoption, and are physically and mentally capable of meeting the child’s needs, with no major illness or trauma in the past 12 months.

Many people have become foster parents for various reasons, as reflected in these quotations.

“We love kids.”

“If I can help for a day or a year, that’s what matters.”

“The look on their faces when they know they’ve found the family.”

Supports are provided through Alberta Human Services foster-care support workers, agency foster-care support workers, other foster parents and the Alberta Foster Parent Association.

Supports include, but are not limited to, ongoing contacts and visits from the foster-care support worker and the child’s caseworker, training, resources for respite and child care, peer support, support groups, and recognition events.

For more information, phone Central Alberta CFSA caregiver recruiter at 403-755-6104 or toll free; first dial 310-0000 and then the number.