Closer to Home has been supporting families in Calgary for 20 years.
Sometimes, families face an immense challenge or crisis that causes them to separate. In these scenarios, Foster Parents are critical. They provide a safe, nurturing environment for children to grow and develop during a difficult time in their lives. They ensure every child feels loved and valued, while learning important life skills such as communication and taking turns. In many cases, the children’s parents are simultaneously working to resolve their challenges and hope to be reunited with their children.
“Every kid needs to know that they are special and they belong somewhere. It’s amazing to see children find their confidence.” — Jody, Foster Care Manager
Foster Parents are part of a team that helps families grow, learn and achieve their full potential.
What is it like to be a Foster Parent with Closer to Home? Hear from current and past Foster Parents as they talk about their experiences:
Questions? Check out the Foster Parent Job Description or click through our list of Frequently Asked Questions below.
Who can become a Foster Parent?
The most important criteria for becoming a Foster Parent are:
- Caring about the well-being of children, youth and families
- Being able to meet the physical, social and emotional needs of children and youth
- Being open to learning and working with a team
Approval of foster parents is not based on:
- Marital status
- Parenting experience
- Family composition
- Home ownership
- Religious affiliation
- Sexual orientation
- Education level
All applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Meet all criteria to be a licensed foster parent as per the Family Enhancement Act
- Be physically, emotionally and financially stable
- All family members must be interested in fostering
- Refrain from providing other services in the home such as a day home, daycare, supported roommate, etc.
How do I become a Foster Parent with Closer to Home Community Services?
- Contact 403-2-foster or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Closer to Home Community Services will provide you with all necessary assessments and training to become a licensed Foster Parent
What are the criteria for licensing?
- Criminal Record Checks and Child Intervention Record Checks completed by all family members over the age of 18 living in or frequently visiting the home; these checks must have been completed no less than six months prior to applying
- Completion of the Safe Home Assessment questionnaire 1 and 2
- Three personal references
- Medical reports completed by a physician for each caregiver
- Monthly budget analysis
- Family map
- Home safety checklist
Foster Parents must also:
- Successfully complete Closer to Home Community Services Pre-Service Training
- Hold a current First Aid Certificate
- Complete the interview and assessment process
Who are foster children?
Foster children range in age from newborn to 17 years and come from a variety of cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. These children have been temporarily removed from their families due to significant risk factors and need a safe, nurturing and structured place to call home while their families work toward reunification. Many children in care have experienced trauma and often demonstrate behaviours indicative of abuse and neglect.
What supports do Foster Parents receive from Closer to Home?
- Free, in-depth training
- Tax-free per diem (a per diem is the financial compensation a foster parent receives daily to provide for a child’s basic care)
- Compensation for two days per month of relief care
- 24-hour on call support
- A Foster Care Coordinator who meets with foster parents in their home bi-weekly, maintains regular phone contact and provides ongoing training, coaching, advocacy and crisis support
- Intensive training and consultation in behaviour management techniques
- Monthly support meetings
- A great team of dedicated Foster Parents and support staff
What are a Foster Parent’s responsibilities?
- Ensure the safety of the children and youth in their care
- Provide a sense of belonging, security and family for children and youth
- Facilitate reunification by working cooperatively with the child or youth’s family
- When family reunification is not an option, assist in the adoption process by working cooperatively with professionals and potential adoptive families
- Be a positive role model to the child or youth and family
- Day-to-day care including school, medical appointments, recreational and social activities
- Attend to the child or youth’s counseling needs by facilitating transportation and attending with the child when necessary
- Present in a professional manner and advocate for the child or youth
- Maintain documentation including daily reports, monthly reports, medical reports and incident reports
- Report all incidents immediately
- Meet regularly and remain in close contact with the coordinator, case worker and the child or youth’s teachers
What is it really like to be a Foster Parent?
Sam was placed in foster care at just 7-years-old. His mom grew absent and his grandparents were unable to care for him, so Foster Parents Ed and Maggie took him into their home. Eventually, Sam reunited with his family thanks to the loving support of Ed and Maggie and the hard work his mom put in to improve her parenting skills. More than a decade later, Sam is pursuing a degree in social work and still keeps in touch with his Foster Parents. Read about his story here.
Remember, Foster Parents are not in it alone. Closer to Home Community Services provides a highly supportive environment for foster parents who want to make a difference in the lives of children, youth and families.