Foster homes in short supply in Alberta

The increase in Calgary's population has meant there are more foster children, but fewer foster families to care for them.

The boom in Alberta has led to a crunch for the Alberta Foster Parent Association.

The increase in Calgary's population has meant there are more foster children to deal with now.

But people who have taken children in the past are no longer doing so because they are getting older and because Alberta's economy is affording the opportunity for more people to take a job.

"There's so many jobs out there," said Norm Brownell, the president of the province's foster parent association. "A lot of families have to have the two incomes to survive in today's market."

Jon Reeves of the Calgary and Area Child and Family Services Authority said Calgary could use as many as 100 new foster families this year.

Brownell added there is a special need for teenage homes.

Brownell said he is confident the association can solve the problem but it will have to do a better job of recruiting. He said word of mouth is the best advertising for foster parents, adding that the association needs to target younger couples where the wife isn't working.

In the meantime, the association is asking some foster parents to take on extra children until it can find new foster parents.

Lisa Jones is one of those foster parents. She has been a foster parent in Calgary for more than 12 years and is looking after five children in addition to her own two.

"When you're waiting for a child to be born and you don't know what it is, that's the way we feel when children come into our home," Jones said. "We don't know what they look like, we don't know what their personality is, so it's lots of fun and exciting that way."