Want to know how to become a foster parent in Alberta? Then this article is for you.
A foster parent is an individual, who provides shelter and a loving environment, for out-of-home children who desire care.
Foster parents provide a stable environment, healthy family dynamics, and positive life skills for out-of-home children, all through their stay in the foster home.
Foster parents are usually approved by the state to provide child care for out-of-home children.
There are thousands of out-of-home children, currently looking for care and provision in Alberta.
This is a result of lack of care, abuse, and exploitation from their birth parents.
The aim of foster care is to ultimately return the child, back to their birth home, within the nearest possible time. However, if it is not within the best interest of the child, foster homes might eventually provide long-term care.
In most cases, a combined effort of child providers, and foster parents ensure that out-of-home children eventually reunite with their birth parents.
Do you have what it takes to ensure that out-of-home children are taken full care of? Would you want to play a part towards ensuring that the teaming number of out-of-home children, return back to their family house?
If the answer to this question is ‘Yes’, then in this article, you will learn how to become a foster parent in Alberta. You will also see what the requirements are to become a foster parent.
Becoming a foster parent requires you to go through a series of processes, however, I will be leading you through the best possible ways on how to become a foster parent in Alberta.
The steps on How to Become a Foster Parent in Alberta
- Step 1: Check your Eligibility
- Step 2: Application process
- Step 3: Licensing
- Step 4: Training
- Step 5: Welcome your first child
I’m sure you want to learn how to become a foster parent in Alberta in detail, read on to get details on these steps.
Step 1: Check your Eligibility
Foster parents take the responsibilities of a parent in the life of an out-of-home child. Foster parents, however, can come from diverse social-cultural backgrounds and are of any relationship status including that of same-sex, single, or married as legally allowed within the common law.
They are role models to out-of-home children and they play a part in their support and upbringing as such, there is a requirement to meet before you can be eligible to apply as a foster parent. The requirements are listed below.
- Must resident of Alberta.
- Must be at least 18-years old; the maximum age will be determined by the best interests of the child.
- Must be at least within the 12 months, in a stable relation prior to applying, if cohabiting.
- Must be both physically and mentally capable of safely caring for children with no major illness or trauma in the past 12 months.
- Must have a residence separate and apart from other caregivers.
- Must be stable financially.
As a foster parent, you must not :
- have become responsible for an additional child in the past year, and/or
- be currently expecting an additional child through pregnancy or adoption.
Step 2. Application process
The second step in how to become a foster parent in Alberta is to start the application process.
To start your application as a caregiver in Alberta, you will need to contact your local Children’s Services office or Delegated First nation Agency, which will assign a worker to help you through the application process as required.
During the application and screening process, you will be required to complete the following forms as listed below :
- Application form
- Home Study
- Intervention Record Check
- Criminal Record Check
- Medical reference
- Personal references
- Environmental Safety Assessment
- Orientation to Caregiver Training sessions etc.
These are the necessary records and information that will be verified upon receiving your application.
Step 3. Licensing
After a successful application review and eventual approval, you will be issued a foster home license.
This will be closely followed by a support worker who will be assigned to you.
The support worker will be in charge of providing support and training. Licenses are renewed annually.
This is to demonstrate your ability to safely care for children in your home. If you need more clarification, you can visit your local Children’s Service office for more clarification.
After your home is licensed:
After a successful home licensing, both caregivers and children are made to receive care and support.
Already licensed homes are usually reassessed every six months and annually. More so, care workers contact the child and also the caregiver.
This regular contact is usually done mostly at the early stage of the placement.
Step 4. Training
Training sessions are often required, as they provide support to caregivers during the caregiving process.
Training helps equip foster parents on how to meet the needs of infants and children under their care, as this process could be challenging.
A learning plan is usually developed across caregivers’ families, to assist in providing the best possible care for the child.
Step 5. Welcome your first child
The last step on how to become a foster parent in Alberta is to welcome your first child. Upon successful application, approval, and undergoing of training, potential caregivers can now welcome their child.
Typically, you should wait for a call, informing you that a child needs your loving and tender care.
Role of a foster caregiver
Having seen how to become a foster parent in Alberta, what is the role of a caregiver?
It is expected that children living in foster homes receive care, love, comfort, security, and stability.
Based on the Alberta foster program, child fostering is based on family, and community, which are believed to be the most desirable environments for raising a child.
Alberta fostering program believes that a child in fostering should at all-time live in a culturally-appropriate home, which is deemed suitable for child upbringing.
- Make provision for the day-to-day needs of the child in their care.
- Profile appropriate nurturing both physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural as most suitable to the children.
- Work deliberately as a team member with the child, the child’s parents and extended family, the support network, the child’s caseworker, and other professionals.
- Fully take part in foster care training that enhances and develops their caregiving skills.
- collaborate efficiently in planning for the child.
- support contact between a child and the child’s connections.
- Effortlessly learn to manage the loss and grief experienced by the children in their care.
Who are the children coming into foster care?
Before you even consider the steps on how to become a foster parent in Alberta, who are the children coming into foster care?
Foster children coming under foster care could be a child or an adolescent under the age of 18.
They can be of any gender, height, sexual orientation, ethnic background, color, and race.
While some children demand longer-term care and living arrangements, virtually all of them had experienced the pain and trauma of being excluded from their previous shelter.
Children entering foster care may:
- Have experienced one or two abuse, neglect, exposure to family violence or excessive drug or alcohol use, and sexual abuse.
- Be part of a sibling group that needs to be kept together.
- Need help with keeping in contact with their own family, community, cultural background, and heritage.
- Be in the severe struggle over loss or damage.
- Be sexual or gender diverse.
- Require some sought preparation for adulthood
When does a child come into care?
Typically, a child comes into care when a caseworker for Children Services (cs), or a Delegated First Nation Agency(DFNA) becomes involved with a child’s family, when
- There is a search for help from the immediate family of the child, due to difficulty in taking care of the child.
- There is a report of abuse or concern from a community member, about the child’s safety or well-being.
Upon receiving a report about the child’s safety, the caseworker calls for a meeting with the family.
After the meeting, the caseworker takes an assessment of the child and family needs.
The caseworker also put into account the strength and ability of the family to provide safety for the child.
Based on the result of the assessment, the caseworker makes recommendations about further child services involved with the family.
It is only when all reasonable and genuine attempts to meet the child’s needs, within the immediate family failed, or when the child’s safety is no longer assured, will the child come into care under a foster parent.
Support for caregivers
Foster parents receive support. This support for foster parents is provided through the government caregiver program, staff, agencies as well as other caregivers, and the Alberta Foster Kinship Association.
This support usually come to foster parents informed of the following :
- ongoing contacts and visits from a support worker and the child’s caseworker
- resources for respite and child care
- peer support
- support groups
- conferences and recognition events, etc.
Are Foster Parents paid?
Foster parents are not paid, however, they receive some kind of compensation for their activities.
Foster parents receive compensation in the form of cash, to help them care for their foster children. This compensation is meant to cater to needs such as :
- Basic maintenance allowance – this helps to cover the day-to-day costs of raising a child, such as food, clothing, shelter, personal care items, general household costs, and a spending allowance. The rate for this is based on the age of the child.
- Skill fee – this fee is meant to compensate foster parents for their level of training and expertise in providing care for the child. This rate is based often on the classification of the foster home (Level 1 or 2).
- Reimbursements. This is the cost paid for purchasing equipment needed for an infant, such equipment could be cribs or car seats that are required to accept an infant placement.
- Monthly reimbursements- This caters to the expenditure made on diapers and baby supplies.
- Medical coverage – This fee makes provisions for the medical coverage of each foster child.
- Any other child-related costs which may be incurred by a foster parent.
How much are foster parents paid?
A foster parent in Alberta is paid $41,240 per year and $20 per hour. The average salary ranges between $31,843 and $48,876 depending on the total number of foster children placed under your care.
What can disqualify one from being a foster parent?
Yes, it’s good to know how to become a foster parent in Alberta, but what can disqualify you from being a foster parent?
There are several factors that could lead to disqualification or denial of license which include:
- Not showing proof of an adequate source of income.
When you don’t have an adequate source of income, you can’t be licensed to become a foster parent in Alberta.
- Traite of disability found in applicant or applicant family member.
Another reason that might lead to your application for a foster parent license being ignored is a disability.
Your application for a licensing may be disabled or ignored, if you or any of your family members are found to be disabled, or have a physical or mental health condition.
- Not being up to age.
Your application doesn’t stand a chance if you are applying as an underage.
Application requirements for foster parents require that applicants must be at least 18 years old before they could be accepted to become fully licensed foster parents.
What could stop an individual from fostering?
Legally nothing stops an individual from becoming a foster parent, if he/ she passes the requirements, except on the grounds of criminal convictions.
These criminal convictions are particularly with regard to offenses against children and sexual offenses. Minor offenses however may not be weighted.
How long does the fostering process last?
Typically the fostering process should not exceed a period of four to six months. Once you are confident about your decision to become a foster parent, and the decision has been made, the period of approval ideally shouldn’t exceed four to six months.
Becoming a foster parent isn’t as difficult as you might think it is. To become a foster parent, you must start by considering your situation.
Actually, anyone can learn how to become a foster parent in Alberta and become a foster parent, regardless of marital status, race, color, and social status, as long as you meet up with the stipulated requirement.
With little parenting experience, or family composition one can successfully become a foster parent.
However, it is very important you put into consideration how this might affect you, how your unique situation might want to interfere, your physical, social and emotional needs, and that of the children you will eventually be fostering.
If you are a parent who has children, you might want to ask your children what their stands are about bringing in a foster child into your home.
Full consideration should as well be made in considering, what age group will be most preferable, for your lifestyle, bearing in mind the commitment involved in providing a day to day-care, meeting up with medical commitments, and recreational as well as social activities.
Financial considerations are also a major factor to evaluate before deciding to become a foster parent in Alberta.
As much as this comes with great commitment, it also comes with several benefits which could serve as a form of enticement.
Begin considering your budget analysis to make sure you have financial stability for the fostering lifestyle. Having seen how to become a foster parent in Alberta, what are your thoughts? Please leave your suggestions below.