The B.C. government has proclaimed October Foster Family Month in recognition of foster parents who open their homes and their hearts to children in need in communities all across the province, announced Children and Family Development Minister Tom Christensen.
“Every day, foster parents make a difference that lasts a lifetime for thousands of children in British Columbia,” said Christensen. “Foster Family Month gives us an opportunity to publicly recognize their hard work, and to say ‘thank you’.”
About 3,500 foster families provide care and support to children and youth who are unable to live with their own families. Whether they provide emergency, short- or long-term care, foster families play an invaluable role in the lives of B.C.’s most vulnerable children. Many young people who leave foster care maintain a lifelong connection to their foster families.
Faye Poirier has been a foster parent for 25 years and currently fosters four special needs children between the ages of seven and 15. She says the challenges have been daunting at times but the rewards keep her hooked.
“The rewards come from the children’s successes and the children’s hugs – love has had a lot to do with this family,” said Poirier, president of the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents.
Funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents and the B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations (BCFFPA) offer support and encouragement to – and a voice for – B.C.’s foster parents. In partnership with the Province, both organizations focus on public awareness, recruitment and retention of foster parents to help build the best system of care for B.C.’s children and youth.
“I want to thank all the foster parents of this province for their generosity towards children and youth who need a temporary, loving home,” said BCFFPA president Melanie Filiatrault, herself a foster and adoptive parent. “There is a need to ensure that each and every child in care has a strong foundation for a productive life.”
After fostering 63 children over 12 years, Sandy Case couldn’t agree more.
“I always feel that something we give them will help them at another point in their life,” said Case, currently a foster parent of four in Victoria.