Foster home shortage behind awareness campaign in Yorkton, Sask.
Approved foster homes in Yorkton and area declined by 50% in 4 years
People in Yorkton who are interested in fostering children are being asked to step up and get involved amidst a shortage of foster parents.
The Ministry of Social Services, along with the Saskatchewan Foster Families Association, is launching a campaign in Yorkton and area, where they say approved foster homes have declined by almost 50 per cent in the last four years.
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Deb Davies, executive director of the Saskatchewan Foster Families Association, said they're hoping to educate people about what fostering entails, including the great need for foster homes for younger children.
"I think typically when the community hears that we're recruiting more foster families, the misconception is that it's only older children that require out-of-home care," Davies said on CBC Radio's Blue Sky.
"There is a real need when children do require out-of-home care, that we have families that are willing to come forward to care for younger children," she said.
She said in the past, children have had to be placed in hotels when there wasn't appropriate housing available to them.
That's a situation having more approved foster homes helps avoid.
"We believe that the best outcomes for children when requiring out-of-home care is in a foster home — a family-based care model," she said.
What it takes
Davies said foster parents come from all sorts of families, ranging from single people to empty-nesters and more.
"We encourage all families to come forward and inquire to see if this is the right fit for you and your family," she said.
She said the timeline required for fostering greatly varies as well. Some kids just need a day, while others need a longer-term placement.
It was one of the most rewarding opportunities that I had.- Deb Davies, Saskatchewan Foster Families Association
As someone who was a foster parent for 28 years, Davies said the experience continues to be rewarding years later.
"I can honestly tell you it's one of the hardest things that I ever did, but it was one of the most rewarding opportunities that I had, to be part of many families, and I still have many connections to many of those families that I fostered," she said.
The government says it plans to expand the campaign province-wide in the near future.
Provincially-approved foster homes have declined by 35 per cent in the past four years.
With files from CBC Radio's Blue Sky