Nfld. & Labrador

Foster families badly needed across province: social worker

Residential-care provider Key Assets is travelling the province, to find families to take in children and young people with complex needs.

39 children in N.L. currently waiting for family-based foster care, Key Assets social worker says

Children who are placed with families through Key Assets often have complex needs and may have experienced trauma, neglect or family violence. (Costea Andrea M/Shutterstock)

Residential-care provider Key Assets is travelling the province to find families to take in children and young people with complex needs, a social worker told CBC Radio's Central Morning Show on Monday.

"Right now we have a high need for more care families right across the province," said Karen Hanlon, a social worker with Key Assets. 

Some of those children are dealing with the after-effects of negative home situations, including abuse. Or they may be in larger families, which makes it more difficult to place siblings.

Since the program began in October 2015, Key Assets has found homes for 57 children, Hanlon said. But another 39 await a similar placement, and that number could increase.

Children with complex needs

There is no one particular kind of family that Key Assets hopes to reach, Hanlon said. Single applicants, same-sex couples, families with and without birth children, blended families, and families with a variety of different cultural and religious backgrounds are all potential fits.

"We certainly are very much an organization that welcomes all types of families," she said.

The one constant is that the families must be willing and able to support children with a variety of complex needs. 

"As you can appreciate, the children we tend to support have been through some pretty difficult experiences," said Hanlon. 

Some of the children they hope to place have been through experiences including abuse, neglect, and exposure to family violence. 

"Those types of experiences can manifest in a variety of ways, through no fault of the child," Hanlon said. The children might have trouble trusting or forming attachments, or deal with a lot of changing and complicated emotions. 

But part of helping families support these children is supporting the families themselves, she said. Families receive a financial allowance to cover care for any children placed in their care, as well as counselling, supports, emergency services, training and even housing, if that is a barrier to taking children in.

Key Assets also provides social opportunities for the families, kids and adults included, by holding social events that brings them together.

The non-profit organization is holding a variety of information sessions across Newfoundland and Labrador to allow residents the chance to ask questions, and learn more about providing a good home for children in the province who need one.

The Key Assets Newfoundland and Labrador Facebook page has contacts and upcoming session dates.

With files from the Central Morning Show