Thirty-three residents in just over two weeks have initiated FACS Niagara’s application process to become foster parents.

Since news broke that FACS is in urgent need of foster families for 11 babies, Michelle Bernard said that the organization received 109 phone calls of inquiry (so far).

“We were quite successful … I want to thank the Niagara community for really stepping up and making the call. We really do appreciate it.”

Willing applicants who’ve inquired from outside of the region have been forwarded to their local children’s aid society.

The service director of FACS’ resource department said that the time it takes for these applications to go through will depend entirely on each individual prospective foster parent.

“The process can move through rather quickly, depending on the commitment of the family who wants to foster.”

While there are some elements FACS cannot speed up — the vulnerable sector police check, the medical check, the reference checks and family interviews — Bernard said the home visits, safety checks and educational training are more within their control.

“We can expedite those things accordingly … as long as the family is open to seeing us quite a bit over the next little while.”

FACS is also looking into running their educational training over a full weekend in the near future, rather than the typical three hours per week for nine weeks format, she said.

In the meantime, 11 babies in question remain in safe but short-term placements.

Aside from “Where are those babies now?” and “How long does an application take?” Bernard said that FACS received many other thoughtful inquiries.

People who work full-time have inquired whether it is possible to still foster a child, for example.

“I always like to say to people, don’t rule yourselves out from fostering.”

Staff will help to assess each applicant’s lifestyle to navigate what options would be appropriate for them and for the child. If a full-time fostering doesn’t work, there is still a need for foster parents who can provide respite care on weekends or summers, she said.

Many have inquired about bedroom requirements. Others have inquired about specific accommodations required for fostering.

Bernard explained that a foster child cannot share a bedroom with an adult caregiver, but could share a bedroom with a biological child or another foster child.

This, of course, also comes with specific regulations regarding the genders, age disparity between the children and the amount of personal space available to each child within the shared room, she said.

“An infant would not be able to share a bedroom with a teenager, for example.”

Regardless of a person’s situation, Bernard suggests calling the office with any inquiries they may have about fostering; a call is not a commitment.

All inquiries or applications can be initiated by calling FACS Niagara at 905-937-7731.

Source: Niagara This Week