Protecting children in Algoma
for over 100 years

Children's Aid Society of Algoma

FAQs

What is foster care?

Foster care is one of the services that the CAS of Algoma is mandated to provide under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017.  It is a protection service for children whose family problems are serious enough to require a temporary period of time out of the home.  Foster families in the community are screened, trained, and approved to provide temporary family care to children who have been separated from their families.

What is the goal of foster care?

The goal of foster care is to assist children and their families towards reunification.  Where family reunification is not possible, foster families participate in the best possible alternate plan of permanency for the children.

Who fosters?

Foster parents are people from all walks of life, races, and cultures, including two-parent and single- parent families.  Some foster parents have already raised their own children, while others are still engaged in raising their families.  Some foster parents do not have any children of their own.  All have a common interest in children.  Generally, many have a desire to contribute to their community and share an interest in a special, purposeful challenge.

What do foster parents do?

Foster parents provide temporary care in their own home.  They act as role models, teachers, and nurturers.  Foster parents work as part of a team with Society staff towards establishing the best plan for each child.  Most often, this will be family reunification.  Where this is not possible, the plan may include adoption, long-term care, or independence preparation (for teens).

How long would I care for a child?

The length of time each child remains in care is determined by the individual needs of the child and his/her family situation.  While the child is in foster care, his/her parents receive the assistance and counseling needed to overcome their problems and to improve the overall functioning of the family.  The range of stay may be 24 hours in the short-term, while some may be long-term placements involving years.  In most cases, the child returns to his/her parents once their family situation has improved.  In some instances, the child is not able to return home.  In these cases, the child may be adopted or remain with the foster family until the child becomes an adult.Foster parents can select the type of care they would like to provide (short-term, long-term or emergency).

It’s not always easy is it?

Being a parent is not easy, and foster parenting may be more demanding than normal parenting.  Separation from parents is a very painful and confusing situation for a child.  The foster family must be flexible and able to cope with guilt, anger, fear and sadness that a foster child may feel when in care.  Accepting and understanding the child’s family can be one of the most difficult parts of fostering and also one of the most important.  Seeing the child leave is often a sad moment for the foster family.  However, foster parents have the satisfaction of knowing that they helped a child and family through a time of crisis.

Why are children placed in the Society’s care?

Most often, admission occurs as the result of a number of stressors culminating in family breakdown.  The major precipitants of admission are:

  • Child abuse --  physical, sexual, emotional, neglect
  • Parent-child conflict/child behavior problems
  • Mental health problems of parents
  • Abandonment, whereby the parent is not willing to have the child in the home

Children who require care are 0 – 18 years with provision to remain in care beyond age 18 in specific situations.  Children are of various racial, cultural, linguistic, and religious backgrounds.  Some children are only-child, while others are part of a sibling group.

What supports are provided?

Every foster home has an assigned Foster Care Coordinator for support.  The Society provides an after- hours service for emergency situations.  Foster parents are provided with pre-service and ongoing training, periodic relief, and monthly support groups.  Foster parents have access to a range of therapeutic support services that children in care may require.

What are the major current needs?

Homes are needed for children of all ages, especially infants and adolescents.  Homes are also needed for children with challenging behaviours and sibling groups.

What are the basic requirements for fostering?

Foster applicants must be at least 18 years of age.  There should be an interest on the part of all family members in fostering, a genuine interest in children, a capacity for caring and a basic regard for others.  Foster parents should have skills in working with children, and a healthy family lifestyle that includes a network of family, friendships, and community support.  Foster parents must be willing to participate in the SAFE assessment and PRIDE pre-service training. PRIDE is a component of the Ontario Practice Model for the assessment, preparation, and ongoing support of resource families.

During the training, you will learn more about:

  • Understanding the needs of children
  • Supporting relationships for children
  • Connecting children to safe, nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime
  • Participating as a member of a professional team
  • Understanding the impact of positive, day-to-day experiences
  • Provincial resources available for support
  • Reinforcing a child’s heritage and cultural identity

 You will also be provided with the opportunity to meet other resource families, and ask questions of experienced resource parents.

How long do people foster?

This varies greatly.  Some families foster for a year or two, others for many, many years.  Every contribution is important, regardless of length.  Some people choose to foster only on a relief basis, for short periods of time (ie. one weekend a month).

What does the application process involve?

The assessment process usually takes four to six months.  An assessment worker from the Society, in conjunction with gathered application documents, helps to determine whether fostering is a good fit for you.  

Are foster parents paid?

Foster parents receive a daily, tax-free reimbursement for the cost of living for the child.  The Society covers medical and dental expenses for the child, as well as providing allowances for clothing, recreation, etc.


Fostering Teens

Why Do Teenagers Come into Care?

  • Some teenagers find they cannot cope with living at home and have sought help. Some have emotional problems, have been abused or neglected, or have problems with alcohol or drugs. Others have been in trouble with the law.

What Are the Options?

  • When teenagers seek the help of, or are referred to the CAS of Algoma, they are interviewed and assessed before placement. Sometimes parent-child conflicts can be worked out while the teenager continues to live in the home. For those with serious emotional, drug or alcohol problems or those who have been in trouble with the law, or have been abused or neglected, a group home or institute setting would be considered.

The Rewards of Fostering Teenagers!

  • People become foster parents to teenagers for many reasons. Watching a troubled youth turn around and become a responsible adult is a very special reward to many. Others enjoy the companionship of a teenager. Some parents prefer to foster teens because they find them easier to relate to. Some started out fostering younger children several years ago and are now interested in fostering teenagers.

  • Many remember their own teen years and realize that a number of conflicts and problems during that stage in life are quite normal and as a result they wish to provide a smooth transition from home to dependence to living on one’s own as an adult.

Teenagers have Special Needs!

  • Those between the ages of 13 to 18 require different types of foster homes than younger children. While some may be upset by the separation from their parents, others actually find that the separation helps them to get along better with the primary parents.

  • Teenagers have had time to establish their own way of doing things. Foster parents should recognize this and be willing to enter a “give and take” relationship with them.
  • Teenagers in foster care may not be looking for the traditional parent-child relationship. They may want adult support and guidance in decision-making and may need help in gaining self-confidence.

House Rules!

  • It is important for both foster parents and foster teenagers to openly discuss their views on morals and personal behaviour. Foster parents and teenagers need to agree on rules for smoking, drinking, dating, curfews and responsibility for the care of their own room. The child protection counselor is available to assist in these discussions.

  • Some teens need guidance in order to improve their judgment of right or wrong. They may, for example, think that stealing a car is a crime, but shoplifting a lipstick is O.K.