“The child is my niece and I know her life history. It’s been a very difficult life. I love her and we’ve been through a lot together and I hope that I’m giving her a loving home.”
– Kinship parent
Family Finding/Family Connections
When children cannot be cared for by their parents or guardians, the next best placement for them is within their extended family or their community network. The Society seeks extended family (kin) or members of the child’s community (kith) to provide safe, nurturing, alternate living arrangements for children and youth at risk of neglect or abuse. This reduces stress for children coming into care, maintains family and community ties and increases the likelihood of the child’s reunification with their primary family. Click here for more info on Family Finding/Family Connections.
Kinship service is support provided for children/youth not in CFS GE care, but who are living with kin/kith as they are unable to remain with their family due to protection concerns. If you believe there is a situation where you could help as a kinship caregiver, please contact the Society. A screening process will be completed to assess your home environment and whether you, and those you live with, can provide care and a safe home environment for a child.
Kinship care is support provided for children/youth who are in CFS GEcare and are placed with kin/kith as they are unable to remain with their family due to protection concerns. These families are assessed the same as foster or adoptive caregiver applicants and are required to successfully complete a Home Study process, as well as attend training. If you believe there is a situation where you could help as a kinship caregiver, please contact the Society.
Click on a question below to reveal the answer…
What is kinship care?
Kinship care refers to the care of children/youth by extended family members or individuals from within the child/youth’s community/support network. Kinship families are the preferred resource for children/youth who must be removed from their birth parents/legal guardians care as it maintains the child/youth’s connections with their families.
How can you help a child that you know?
There are two kinship programs available through Children’s Aid Societies in Ontario. Both designed to allow children to be placed in the care of people they know, often members of their extended family or members of the community. Kinship options are explored for children/youth in need of protection, prior to having a child placed in foster or group care situations.
- Kinship Service is the least intrusive option for children/youth in that the child/youth is not brought into care of the Society. Living with kin/kith can make a difficult time easier for a child/youth. Your home will be assessed as to whether your home environment and the people living in it can provide safe place and meet the needs for a child/youth.
- Kinship Care provides a familiar home for the child and is a good alternative to foster care for some children/youth who are in the care of a Society. In these situations, the Society becomes the child’s legal guardian, and the prospective kinship care family would follow the same assessment/process as foster or adoptive caregiver applicants.
How do I get started?
If you or someone you know would like to provide a home for a child/youth who is unable to remain in the care of their parent/legal guardian please call us at: (519) 753-8681 or toll-free at 1-888-753-8681. If you are calling from Haldimand or Norfolk, you may continue to call (519) 587-5437 or toll free at 1-888-CAS-KIDS (227-5437) until further notice.
Customary care is an important option for First Nations children/youth when protection concerns require an out of home placement. Customary Care refers to the care of a child or youth of Indigenous descent by a person(s) who is not the child/youth’s parent but reflects the culture, values and traditions of the parents and community. Customary Care requires that a society supervise the placement in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement that is signed by the First Nations Band or Indigenous Community, family and the Society.
Foster Care Services
Every effort is made to keep children/youth within their families of origin. When this is not possible, extended family and/or individuals within the child/youth’s community are sought next. Temporary placement in a foster home is considered with the hopes of children reuniting with their families.
Our Agency’s philosophy today can be expressed in no better terms than this quote from a letter written in 1930 by the staff of one of our legacy agencies the Children’s Aid Society of Brant:
“In such cases, it is our policy to remove cause rather than remove children and if possible to make home conditions suitable for young children and the children removed only as a last resort.”
CFS GE works diligently to help children remain in their families. However, when they cannot remain at home because of serious concerns about their safety and protection, they come into care. When placement with a member of the immediate or extended family or a member of the community is not possible, foster care is the best alternative.
There is always a need for more foster homes. Foster parents provide stability and a caring home for children in care of the CFS GE. They work as part of a team, have a genuine interest in children and a sense of community responsibility.
They may provide care for just a few days, a week, several months or possibly years.
Foster parents can be single, married, common law, or be involved in a same sex relationship. They come from a wide variety of diverse ethnic, spiritual, religious, and cultural backgrounds. They are of all different ages and have different levels of experience with children. In Ontario, individuals must be 18 years of age to apply to foster.
We provide initial orientation and ongoing training, regular visits and support, access to other therapeutic services a child may require, and daily non-taxable reimbursement for the child’s/youth’s living expenses and supplementary needs.
If you are interested in becoming a foster family or want to know more about the process, please contact us to learn more about fostering:
“A 100 years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was. Or the sort of house I lived in. Or the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
– Forest Witcraft
“It was hard to comprehend that there were children out there who needed homes, sometimes it still is. We knew we had room in our hearts and room in our home and we had no excuse not to offer a safe place to children in need.”
– Marcie, Foster Parent
“Knowing that you are helping someone and their family can be rewarding. It teaches you to have more patience and understanding of what other people go through.”
– Wayne, Foster Parent
Foster Care FAQs
Click on a question below to reveal the answer…
Why are foster parents always needed?
When children cannot remain with their parents or family, another caring family in their home community is the best placement for a child in need of protection.
What are steps to becoming a foster parent?
- Contact us to get some basic information.
- A resource worker will arrange a meeting with you to collect more detailed information, explain the application and approval process and answer any questions you might have.
- Training – PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) is a provincial training program provided locally by our agency which usually involves 10 three-hour sessions over a three-month period.
- Home Assessment- SAFE stands for Structured Analysis Family Evaluation – which is a tool used to determine your eligibility, suitability, and readiness to become a foster parent. It takes about 10 hours of meetings to complete.
- Approval – Once you have completed PRIDE and your home assessment (which can take place at the same time), your family is then considered for approval and open for a placement.
- Placement – once a match is made between you and a child in need of a foster home, we will make a placement with you.
How does matching work?
Needs of each child are considered; their age and other factors and then we match on the skill, experience, nature, and availability of your family to find the best match possible. Together we can make the right decision about whether the match would be a good fit.
How long does it take from application to fostering?
It can take six months to one year (or longer) before placement depending on a variety of factors.
What kind of kids will your family see?
The kids we serve are all different. The majority have had to deal with issues of neglect and abuse and trauma, as well as the process of coming into care itself is often traumatic. Some children will have medical or developmental conditions that need to be addressed.
How are foster parents reimbursed?
A daily rate based on the age and needs of the child in care. A variety of expenses are also paid for clothes, recreation and more.