Nova Scotia couple wants province to speed up foster parent approval
'We feel like we have a lot more love to give,' says Lola Brown
A Nova Scotia couple is frustrated with the hoops they've had to jump through to become foster parents, despite the province saying they need more of them.
Lola Brown and Ian Marquette have two kids and a baby on the way, but they're hoping to welcome more little ones into their lives by becoming foster parents.
"We have a lot of space in our house and we feel like we have a lot more love to give," Brown told CBC's Information Morning. "We love being parents and we just feel like we want to help."
The Upper Stewiacke couple started the foster parent approval process in May 2014, and completed 27 hours of training by June.
"All through the training we were told, 'Oh, you'll have a kid in your house by September. It's going to go so fast. We're so desperate,'" Brown said.
That wasn't the case.
The home assessment process — where a social worker comes to the home and asks questions — didn't start until August.
People who've had issues in their lives will likely have to see a counsellor or a therapist to make sure they can provide appropriate care to foster children, Marquette said. The couple both went through this process, which cost $175 a session.
Marquette has insurance, but Brown thinks the expense could be a barrier to some.
"[The Department of Community Services] used to have a psychologist in their department that did that but now, you know, that's one of the things that got cut," she said.
Brown said their extra screening did contribute to their wait time, but she also thinks the whole process would go faster if there were more social workers to do assessments.
Vicki Black, the provincial co-ordinator of foster care services, said sometimes it takes a couple of months for a social worker to be assigned to a case. She said the department is aware of the lag and is trying to figure it out.
It typically takes 12 to 18 months to be approved as a foster parent, Black said.
Brown and Marquette are still in the home assessment process now.
Despite the challenges, the couple remains committed to the path. They know other people who foster and have met some great children through them.
"That's the thing that keeps me going, is to know that at some point I'm hopefully going to be able to make a positive impact to a child's life," Marquette said.
Listen to Information Morning on Monday, Feb. 9, to hear an interview with Vicki Black, the provincial co-ordinator of foster care services.