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Saturday, 19 November 2016 05:20

Drive to increase number of foster families in Swift Current begins

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Currently there is a drive to get more homes open who will take foster children in southwest Saskatchewan and specifically in Swift Current.


As part of a collaboration between Saskatchewan Foster Families Association (SFFA), a community-based organization and the provincial Ministry of Social Services, there is a concerted effort through the means of lobbying social agencies, advertising and a social media campaign to increase the number of homes which take in foster children in Swift Current.
SFFA Executive Director Deb Davies says it is important to get Swift Current and southwest portion of the province involved. She notes currently, there are only five homes which take in foster children.
“Right now, we need to educate the communities to foster and what it’s about; it’s all about the educating,” says Davies whose association has 160 people across the province which delivers education and support to potential and full-time support.
“We want to improve foster homes. Of course, we want to recruit more families. There’s never enough families ... It’s a crucial support for the community.”
She indicates being a foster parent could last as short a time frame as 24 hours or last more than a year.
The Foster Families Association works with Social Services to train potential foster families “through an internationally-recognized, comprehensive program called the PRIDE model, which is used to provide ongoing support to foster families in providing a home environment that is safe, caring and respectful.”
The organization also employs approximately 160 people across the province to offer training and in-home supports for foster families.
This concerted effort was an expansion and continuation of a “community drive” program which was started in Yorkton in September. Since that time, 26 inquiries about fostering were made in Yorkton. She hopes the drive will have the same kind of results in Swift Current.
Davies realizes there are a lot of working families with both parents working outside the home and some people can’t commit to being full-time foster parents.
There may be some interest in families doing some part-time respite care, where they look after children in situations when during various periods of time the regular foster family needs to attend to an emergency or just needs a break.
Davies also says she wanted to eliminate the misconceptions about the ages of children who need fostering. The misconception is that it’s always older children who need help and that isn’t necessarily true. There could be familial situations where infants or toddlers need help.
Those who are interested can phone 1-800-667-7002 or see the website at www.sffa.sk.ca and get an informational package on the potential of being a foster parent.
Davies says there’s no particular timeframe of hitting a certain target of foster families in Swift Current and the southwest however the number of foster families in the province has decreased 35 per cent.
On Nov. 16 the government announced SFFA and the Government of Saskatchewan are the first in Canada to partner together to provide the 30 hours of required training for all foster families online, with video conferencing equipment donated by SaskTel Pioneers.
Existing and prospective foster families can access the first half of the training program online immediately. 
The second half of the program will be transitioned online in spring 2017.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor