Do you feel that you have something to give? Are you looking to change your life and embrace a new challenge? Do you love working with children and youth? Consider fostering.
At Family and Children’s Services, we believe that the best place for children is with their families. 96% of the children that we work with remain safely in the care of their parents. For those 4% who are unable to remain at home due to concerns about their safety and well-being: we need 100% of your commitment.
Foster parents provide a safe home and a temporary solution for children, while we help their families make the changes needed to enable their children to come back home. 75% of children in foster care will return to the care of their parents in less than 3 months.
There are about 568 children in care at any given time in Niagara (2013-14 statistics). We are always in need of more foster parents in all communities in the Niagara region.
Foster parents come in all shapes and sizes. They are as unique and diverse as the children we serve. Singles, couples and families – they come from all ages, life stages, cultures and sexual orientations. Consider joining this unique community of special people.
Please take a moment to learn more:
- Who are foster parents?
- What “qualifications” do you need?
- What are the different kinds of fostering?
- What supports are available to you?
We are waiting for your call. Ask for a representative from our Resources Department to answer your questions about fostering. There is no obligation in making this phone call or asking for information.
Local: (905) 937-7731
Long Distance, Toll-Free: 1-888-937-7731
- Families of various ethnicities, cultures, religions and orientations
- Families who wish to care for teens
- Families who wish to care for infants and toddlers
- Families from all communities in Niagara
How is fostering different from adoption?
Foster care is temporary and adoption is permanent. Foster parents do not assume legal guardianship of a child in their care. Children in foster care usually visit regularly with their natural family, with the hope that they can eventually reunite with their biological family.
Adoption is a permanent decision. Adoptive parents assume legal guardianship of a child and make a life-long commitment to care for them as a permanent member of their family. For more information about adoption through FACS Niagara, please visit our adoption page.
Who can be a foster parent?
Foster parents come in all shapes and sizes. Single, married or in a committed partnership. Straight, gay or lesbian. You do not have to own your home or apartment. You may work outside of the home or be a stay-at-home caregiver. You might be a younger person or an older person. You could still be raising your children, an empty nester or interested in parenting for the first time.
Anyone with a genuine interest in helping children and families in our community can apply. You should be ready to make a life change and embrace the challenges and rewards that come with fostering. We welcome diversity in culture, religion and ethnicity.
What do you need to become a foster parent?
- Good physical and mental health.
- No criminal record, no record of child abuse, neglect or domestic violence in the home.
- Family stability – partnered, single, with or without children – as this needs to be a good decision for everyone in your family. Having a newborn, being pregnant, recent separation/divorce or other family transitions or challenges may make this more difficult.
- Residence stability – you should have a stable home/residence in the Niagara Region. You can rent or own your home. If you are moving or renovating, it would be wise to wait until you are more settled.
- Financial stability – an income that is independent of the foster care reimbursement.
- Willingness to be open to and respectful of all religions, backgrounds, sexual orientations, cultures, and lifestyles in our community.
- A lifestyle that can accommodate children – stable, active, flexible, and with a good sense of humor.
Supports available to Foster Parents
- A mandatory 9-week (27 hours) intensive training course prior to being approved as a foster parent. This is part of the assessment process and provides prospective foster parents with important information and skills.
- Ongoing training for foster parents to support continued skill development.
- Financial compensation to assist with the child’s living expenses, medical and dental coverage, clothing, school costs and recreational expenses.
- Agency/Staff support, including comprehensive case management, access to services in the community, and collaborative planning for the child.
- Every approved foster home has their own Resources Worker providing ongoing support and assistance to the foster home.
- Support of other experienced foster parents through monthly support groups, the Foster Parent Association and newsletter.
- Twenty-four available respite days per year when other foster parents temporarily care for the children you are fostering while you are away or when you need a break.
FACS Niagara does not place medically fragile children or children under 5 years of age with foster families who smoke (even if they smoke outside of the home). Foster parents who smoke may care for children over the age of 5; however, they must limit their smoking to outside of the home and may not smoke while transporting children in their vehicles.
Caring for Preschool Children
If a foster family is caring for a child under school age, 0 – 5 years, it is necessary for one parent to be home during the day. The agency does not cover the cost of day care.