Fostering FAQs

Foster parents provide a temporary home for children who are in the care of a Children’s Aid Society (in Niagara, the Children’s Aid Society is called Family and Children’s Services). Children may need care for a few days, a week, several months or possibly years.

Foster parents work with agency staff as part of a team to develop a plan for each child. Ideally, we hope to reunite a child with his or her family. When this is not possible, the plan may include long-term foster care, or other forms of permanence such as placement with extended family or kin, or possibly adoption or legal guardianship.

Children come into our care as a result of concerns about their safety and well-being. This may include issues involving neglect, abuse, parental illness or abandonment. Some children are voluntarily placed in care, while others come into care by court order. We make every effort to support a child remaining safely in the care of his or her parents or caregivers. Only after exhausting all options, or if a child is at immediate risk, do we consider foster care.
They are children of all ages from birth to the age of 16. Some remain in care until they are 18. They come from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and families. They may be on their own or part of a sibling group. Their level of need and behaviour varies. Each child is unique but all need a safe and nurturing place to stay while the agency determines the best permanent plan for their futures.
We encourage anyone with an interest, to apply to be a foster parent. Like foster children, foster parents come from all backgrounds and walks of life. We welcome applicants of various cultures, religions and sexual orientations.

Some are experienced parents whose family has grown; some are young families still raising their own kids. We have single parents and those in partnered relationships. We have couples and individuals who work outside the home, and some who parent at home full time. If a foster family is caring for a child under school age (0-5 yrs), it is necessary for one parent to be at home during the day. The agency does not cover the cost of day care.

Foster parents must have a genuine interest in helping children, a willingness to be open and respectful of all religions, backgrounds, sexual orientations, cultures and lifestyles in our community. They must have a family lifestyle that can accommodate children – stable, active, flexible, and with a good sense of humour.

Yes. Some families offer short-term care of about a month to a year, while others prefer long-term placements. Respite homes care for children on a short-term basis to give regular foster homes a break.

We have treatment homes for children who have more complex needs, as well as homes that are open to emergency placement (24 hours a day). Some foster parents operate group homes that provide care for more than four teenagers in a family setting. Group home foster parents are highly experienced and skilled in dealing with a variety of extremely difficult behaviours and special needs.

Yes. Some families love to care for infants while some prefer the independence of teens. Others enjoy school age children. We will help you make this choice while we work with you in the assessment process.

The age, gender, behaviour level and any challenges a child has, will be discussed with you before you agree to have them placed in your home. Together we can decide what works for you, your family, and any child we may place in your home.

No. It is usually preferred, but a child can share a room as long he or she has his or her own bed, is sharing with a child of the same sex (unless under the age of two) and that no adults share the room unless the needs or illness of the child require this. There are specific regulations with regard to room size, and home safety standards.

FACS Niagara respects and works with many different types of families. They are diverse in age, religion, culture, ethnicity, race and sexual orientation. They have different values and ideas. Foster parents need to be respectful and sensitive to diversity in others.

We value differences in people and encourage children and youth to celebrate their own cultures, religions, sexual orientation and lifestyles. It is important for foster parents to value and accept others who may have different beliefs, while still practicing their own culture and religion.

Foster parent applicants receive extensive orientation training (9 weeks) to gain knowledge and skills in foster parenting. Once you are an approved foster home, ongoing training and skill development are available.

Foster parents receive financial compensation for a child’s living expenses, as well as medical and dental coverage, clothing, school and recreation expenses.

Foster parents have the support of FACS Niagara staff, monthly foster parent support groups and other foster parents. They are eligible for respite care if they need a break or will be out of town.

Please call FACS Niagara (locally at (905) 937-7731 or toll free at 1-888-937-7731) and ask to speak to a Resources Intake worker for a phone screening interview. The application process includes police checks, a medical, a home safety review and a series of interviews. There is also an extensive pre-service training program that must be completed before you are approved and any child is placed with you. The entire application process takes approximately 6-9 months.

View the Application Process
No. If you have ever considered fostering, please pick up the phone and call to express your interest and to ask any questions. After receiving more information, you can then decide if you want to proceed to the next step or not. There is no obligation attached to making that call.
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