How to Become a Foster Parent
Becoming a foster parent could be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.
While the process does involve a number of steps, it’s designed to help you decide if fostering is a good fit for your life and what role would be a good fit for you as a foster family.
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Who can be a foster parent?
You may be:
- single, married or living common-law;
- of any race or ethnicity;
- with or without children of your own;
- a renter or homeowner; and
- experienced with, or willing to learn about, children with special needs.
You must be:
- able to pass a criminal record check (applies to all adults living in home); and
- able to pass a child protection screening, having no current or recent child protection history.
Becoming a Foster Parent, a Six Step Process
There are six steps you will take before having a child placed in your home. From beginning to end, the six steps usually take approximately 4 months to complete depending on the workload in the system.
Step 1 – Get Informed
The first step is for you to contact the SFFA (Saskatchewan Foster Families Association) to receive more information about fostering. We will talk to you; answer any initial questions you might have; and send you an information package to review. We can also put you in touch with a foster parent so you can talk to them about their first-hand experiences.
Step 2 - Express Your Interest
If you would like to proceed, you express your interest to the SFFA. We will gather your information and refer you to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services to start the official process.
Step 3 - Meet the Ministry
A social worker from the Ministry will arrange an in-person meeting and discuss fostering in more detail with you. As well, they will do an interview to get to know you better and understand what situations would be a good fit for you. They will also find out your range of acceptance. For instance, how many kids, their ages, and what types of needs you would be comfortable taking on.
Step 4 - Reference Checks
The Ministry will then send out a number of reference checks to friends and family as well as conduct criminal record checks.
Step 5 – Your Training
Next up is the 30-hour training process conducted by both a social worker from the Ministry as well as an experienced foster parent. These sessions cover a range of topics such as grief & loss, discipline, working with families, and building self-esteem. Once this is completed, you will also complete first aid and CPR training.
Step 6 – Welcome Your Child
Provided all the previous steps are completed and both you and the Ministry are comfortable proceeding, you will become an approved foster home. Based on the range of acceptance you specified for kids, the Ministry will call you when there is a suitable match and arrange a time to bring the child or children to your home.
Your First Year
During your first year as a foster parent, an experienced social worker - called your resource worker - is assigned to you and your home. They check in regularly to help you navigate the fostering system, make sure you are doing well, and provide any support you might need.
No one knows what a foster parent goes through like other foster parents and it's important to find support, mentorship, and relationship with other foster parents. At the SFFA, we have Leadership Committees around the province that exist to help connect foster parents and provide community for them. There are events and meetings to share ideas or struggles, and network with other families in your area.
The first step is to contact us at the SFFA. We are always looking for caring families who are interested in fostering and would love the chance to get to know you better if you are interested.