What Do I Need To Become A Foster Family?
Foster families have a wide variety of family dynamics. Some are experienced parents whose family has grown, young couples who become foster parents while raising their own children, single parents, or people who have never had children. There are basic requirements to become foster parents:
- All applicants must be at least twenty one (21) years of age.
- Applicants must be a resident of Alberta, a Canadian Citizen, Landed Immigrant or have Permanent Residency Status for the past five (5) years.
- Foster parents can be single, married or living common-in-law. Applicants should have a stable relationship for the past twenty-four (24) months. Single applicants may be accepted with appropriate support systems.
- Applicants must be free of major illnesses, with no major traumas occurring in past twelve (12) months, with a positive medical report from a doctor who knows your medical history.
- All applicants must have up-to-date and clear Police Security Clearances and Children Service’s Intervention Checks. These clearances would apply to all adults in the home.
- Applicants must provide three (3) positive references. References should include work, long time friends, and one from a close relative. A school reference will be requested if the applicant’s own children are in school.
- Applicants must have a stable source of income, and will not depend on fostering income to meet normal household expenses. Families are required to submit a financial worksheet outlining income and expenses for the family.
- Must sign an Oath of Confidentiality and an agreement to comply with agency policies
- Community resources are accessible to the applicant’s home, i.e. schools, medical care etc.
- Applicants must have the ability and willingness to work with natural families.
- Applicants attend an Information Session with Pathways before an application is accepted. This session provides a realistic picture of "the fostering journey" and could be a group session or a one-to-one meeting in your home with a Pathways’ staff member.
- Both care givers must complete a minimum of 24 hours of “Orientation to Caregiver” training before a placement occurs.
- Both caregivers must have valid Emergency First Aid certificates prior to accepting a placement. Suicide Awareness Training and Aboriginal Awareness Training are a requirement during the initial nine (9) months of fostering by both caregivers. All of these training costs will be reimbursed upon approval of the family to become a foster home. Babysitting and kilometres will also be compensated at an identified rate.
- An agency orientation to policies and standards will so be provided for the main caregiver.
- Pathways will complete a home assessment. The home assessment process requires the applicants to complete a booklet of questions and allows the agency to come into their home to discuss these questions with the family members. The purpose of the home assessment is to identify families who demonstrate the ability to care for children in need and to ensure the safety of those children.
- All foster homes are required to be licensed by the Ministry of Children’s Services. A “Home Safety Checklist” will be completed to ensure your home is in compliance with Licensing standards. Applicants must also provide evidence that their home is adequately insured with a minimum of $1,000,000 liability. Applicants must commit to documenting children’s progress and achievements while in their care, so the child will have a record and understanding of their life during their time in care.
- Final decision and approval is made by the Pathways team, which includes the home assessment writer.