Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia encourages LGBT community to consider foster parenting

Nova Scotia's Department of Community Services has launched a social media campaign in an effort to encourage members of the LGBT community to consider becoming foster parents.

Social media campaign Foster Parents: It Takes All Kinds kicked off Wednesday during Halifax Pride week

The Department of Community Services says it wants to correct misinformation about who is eligible to become foster parents. (Foster Care Nova Scotia)

Nova Scotia's Department of Community Services has launched a social media campaign in an effort to encourage members of the LGBT community to consider becoming foster parents. 

The campaign, called Foster Parents: It Takes All Kinds, kicked off Wednesday during Halifax Pride week. 

"We've noticed over the past number of years that there seems to be some sort of misunderstanding by folks in the community — specifically the gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender community — that they may not be appropriate or they may not be able to apply to be a foster parent," said Joanne Bernard, minister of community services.

"We really wanted to correct that misinformation and put it to rest."

She says there's a general need for foster parents in the province. 

"We know that over the last couple of years we've lost about 23 per cent of them and a significant amount of foster parents who provide excellent care."

Bernard says Nova Scotia's foster parents are aging and the need is for "responsible adults" to come forward. She says all ethnicities, backgrounds — regardless of relationship status — should consider applying.

Wanted: patience, empathy & compassion

According to the Foster Care website, you can apply to be a foster parent if you're 19 or over, a resident of Nova Scotia, and willing to participate in training and an assessment.

"Foster parents need to be patient. They need to be empathetic and compassionate," said Bernard.

"They need to be loving and they need to have values and [understanding] of right and wrong that they can impart to children and have patience because many of these children come into their care — some of them have emotional [issues], some of them may be developmentally delayed." 

There about 800 children in Nova Scotia who need foster care, according to the Department of Community Services. Though none are waiting to get care, the number of people opening their homes is declining.

Vicki Black, the provincial co-ordinator of foster care services, has said it sometimes takes a couple of months for a social worker to be assigned to a case. She said last February 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.

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