Foster a child, change a life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a foster parent?

A foster parent is someone who provides temporary care to a child who is unable to live with his or her natural family and is in the care of The Children’s Aid Society. Foster parents provide a stable and supportive home for a child for however long he or she needs to be in care. The child takes part in family life like any other member of the family and participates in family and community activities.

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What is the difference between foster care and adoption?

Foster care is temporary; foster parents do not assume legal guardianship of the child and usually a child residing in a foster home will continue to have visits with members of the natural family. Where possible, the intention in fostering is to re-unite the child with his or her natural family. Adoption, on the other hand, is a permanent arrangement; parents assume legal guardianship of the child and usually there is no contact with the natural family.

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Why are children admitted into care?  Why are they not living at home?

Children are admitted into care either by apprehension or parental consent for dozens of different reasons, including physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, lack of supervision, lack of housing, parental illness, behaviour problem, emotional rejection, severe parent-child conflict.  In some instances children have been abandoned or parents are too ill or troubled to provide care for their children.

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What are the ages of children who are in care?

Homes are needed for children aged newborn to 16. In consultation with a social worker, foster parents may choose the age range of the child(ren) they would like to care for. The child’s developmental level, needs, religion, culture, language, and the foster parent’s level of skills and comfort are factors that contribute to the decision making about which children will be placed with a particular family.

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How long would a child be living with me?

Some children might live with a foster family for a few days, weeks, or months. Others may live with a foster family for years. In some cases, a child may spend his or her entire childhood in care. For the most part, children tend to live with a foster family for a matter of months.  In fostering it is always hoped that a child can be returned to his or her natural family.  When a child is admitted into care, a plan is developed with goals and expectations and time-frames.  Foster families are involved in the planning for their foster child(ren) and receive training to help them do this well.

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How many children can I care for?

We believe that one child in a foster home is the optimal choice. Some of our experienced foster parents, however, may care for up to four children at any given time, provided they have adequate space in their home to do so. No more than two children can be under the age of two.

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Does a foster child need to have his or her own bedroom?

No, a child may share a bedroom with another child (same sex only for children age 6 and over) but each child must have his/her own bed. Ideally, each child should have a 5x10’ space, which means two children could share a 10x10’ bedroom. The bedroom must have a door and a window, a dresser for each child and appropriate bedding. A child may not share a room with an adult unless the needs of an infant or illness of a child require such an arrangement.  The adults in the home need to have their own bedroom, as opposed to sleeping in a living room or den.

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Will my beds be filled all the time?

No.  There may be times when a bed or beds in your home will not be filled.  It may be your choice, or it may be because a child whose needs are a match and a fit for your home and skills is not currently in need of placement. Regular contact with your agency support worker will determine the appropriate, next child for you and your family.

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Can single people foster?

Yes, there are many wonderful foster parents who are single, some of whom have children of their own and some who don’t. Couples who have been living in a stable common law relationship for two years may also apply to foster. Members of the gay, lesbian and bisexual communities may become foster parents as well.

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Do I have to be a stay-at-home parent?

Not necessarily. However, the foster parent or parents must have time to commit to a child. For children whose lives have already been disrupted, consistency of care is crucial. Some foster parents may work out of their home and others may have considerable flexibility in their work schedule so that they can be there for a child who may, for example, be sick and unable to attend school. Similarly, they have the means to care for a child during summer months and other holidays.

Keep in mind that if full-time fostering does not seem a possibility for you, you can always consider relief or part-time fostering, which would involve weekends and a week or two now and then, particularly during school holidays. Please check with your local representative to find out more about the different fostering options available in your community.

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Would my beliefs about particular issues prevent me from fostering?

Homes for Kids embraces families and children from diverse backgrounds.  Our foster parents represent diversity in age, religion, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity and race.  We are looking for foster families who are respectful of these diversities and who are flexible and able to value differences.

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Can I foster if I rent my home/apartment, or do I have to own my home?

Yes, you can foster if you are renting.  Foster parents live in apartments, townhouses, and houses, both in the city and in the country.   

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What supports are available for foster parents?

A number of supports are available: a 24 hour on-call worker, a social worker assigned to the foster family to help meet their needs, a social worker for every child who is in care, foster parent support groups that meet regularly, and the Foster Parent Association affiliated with each agency.

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What financial supports are provided?

Foster parents are not employees and do not receive a salary.  They receive a daily rate or per diem for each child in their care.  Depending on the foster parent’s training and experience, the daily rate varies from approximately $29 to considerably higher.  The money received by caregivers is non-taxable.  It is considered reimbursement for expenses incurred and foster parents do not claim it as income.  Foster parents are also reimbursed for expenses such as the foster child’s clothing and school supplies.  All medical and dental expenses are covered as well.

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Questions?

What is a foster parent?

What is the difference between foster care and adoption?

Why are children admitted into care? 
Why are they not living at home?

What are the ages of children who are in care?

How long would a child be living with me?

How many children can I care for?

Does a foster child need to have his or her own bedroom?

Will my beds be filled all the time?

Can single people foster?

Do I have to be a stay-at-home parent?

Would my beliefs about particular issues prevent me from fostering?

Can I foster if I rent my home/apartment, or do I have to own my home?

What supports are available for foster parents?

What financial supports are provided?

Reach A Representative

To reach a representative,
click on the map or call:

1-877-587-KIDS (5437)

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