Today, in our province there is critical shortage of foster homes. Homes like yours.

Foster Home Approval Process

PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) is a standardized program for preparing and assessing foster home applicants. The assessment process includes a number of educational sessions called PRIDE Preservice sessions and a comprehensive home assessment.

PRIDE Preservice sessions:

PRIDE Preservice sessions provide information to potential foster parents about fostering and assists them in understanding the expectations, roles and responsibilities of fostering, as well as the needs of children and youth in care, and their families.

The sessions also help prospective foster parents in determining if fostering is a good fit for them and explores their ability and willingness to meet the five PRIDE Competencies that foster parents are expected to have. The five PRIDE competencies include:

1. Protecting and nurturing children and youth
2. Meeting the developmental needs of children and youth and addressing developmental delays
3. Supporting relationships between children and youth and their families
4. Connecting children and youth to safe nurturing relationships intended to last a lifetime
5. Working as a member of a professional team

There are eight PRIDE Preservice sessions, all of which are three hours each. The sessions may be delivered in a variety of ways, including weekly or weekend sessions.

    • SESSION 1 - Connecting with PRIDE

      Overview: Session 1 gives participants the unique opportunity to learn about the world of fostering and adoption. The video “Making a Difference” portrays how families come to the attention of child protection agencies and how the protective intervention team works together on behalf of the child or youth. Participants see how different foster families work as part of that team to provide for the challenging needs of children and youth in their care.

      This session also welcomes participants to PRIDE. It explains how this program fits in with the process of assessing and selecting foster families. Participants will discover how families are approved and licensed for this important work. Session 1 identifies the knowledge and skills (known as “competencies”) that foster families need.

      Session 1 introduces several regular features of PRIDE. These include:

      • PRIDE Connections - at-home exercises that link information shared in the sessions with life experiences of applicants;
      • Making a Difference - stories illustrating the rewards of fostering;
      • Key Points - a summary of important information discussed in each session;
      • You Need to Know - information to study at home; and,
      • A Birth Parent’s Perspective - stories and letters from parents to promote understanding of the families of children and youth in care.

    • SESSION 2 - Teamwork Towards Permanence

      Overview: One of the most challenging tasks for foster families involves developing an understanding of birth family issues. This includes knowing how to talk with children and youth about their families and being able to support those family relationships. Session 2 lays the foundation for this understanding by first exploring the ways in which families support the identity, cultural heritage, and self-esteem of children or youth. Participants have the opportunity to view and discuss some short video scenarios that demonstrate the skills of “shared parenting.”

      This session highlights why we value permanence in the lives of children and youth and how we seek to provide it. Participants learn why teamwork is the best way to promote permanence for children, youth and their families. Through participation in this session, participants discover the important role of foster parents as members of a professional team. In this session, a “Job Description for Permanency Planning Team Members” outlines the specific tasks needed in order to help children and youth achieve their permanency goal. Goals for reaching permanence are detailed, starting with efforts to support families and to place children and youth back in their birth families or in the home of a relative.

    • SESSION 3 - Meeting Developmental Needs: Attachment

      Overview: Session 3 reviews some of the basics of child and youth growth and development. Participants are asked to consider how important it is for children and youth to form deep and lasting attachments. This session also explores how maltreatment and trauma impact a child or youth's attachments, development and behavior. Case scenarios explore ways in which foster parents, working with other team members, build positive attachments with children and youth to ensure the developmental needs of the child or youth may be met.

    • SESSION 4 - Meeting Developmental Needs: Loss

      Overview: When children and youth are separated from the only family they have known, an overwhelming sense of loss may slow growth and development. This session covers the types of losses children and youth may have before they enter care. It explores how placement can deepen the child’s and youth’s sense of loss. Session 4 reviews the stages of loss and the impact these stages may have on the child or youth, with an emphasis on how loss affects the child or youth’s behavior.

      A sense of loss is something that most everyone will face. For instance, participants will have a chance to consider their own response to loss in terms of discussing how foster parents might respond to losses that come with fostering, and how foster parents can help children and youth in care cope with losses.

    • SESSION 5 - Strengthening Family Relationships

      Overview: Session 5 focuses on how families promote identity, cultural heritage, and self-esteem in children and youth. Participants have the opportunity to learn ways to help a child or youth develop positive cultural identity at different developmental stages. The importance of family connections and continuity is also addressed. This session reviews the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development’s goal of reunification of children and youth in care with their birth families whenever possible.

      Session 5 gives very practical information to participants about how to plan for visits that children or youth have with family or significant others, how to get children and youth ready for these visits, and how to handle reactions from children and youth when the visit ends. Several videos illustrate specific skills related to planning for and handling visits.

    • SESSION 6 - Meeting Developmental Needs: Discipline

      Overview: Session 6 explores the challenge of discipline. It includes a definition of discipline, a set of goals, and a discussion about how discipline is different from punishment. Participants will review the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development's policy on discipline and discuss why physical punishment is not permitted. Session 6 covers the knowledge, skills, and personal qualities adults need to promote discipline. Participants explore the meaning of a child or youth’s behavior and the factors that influence behavior. This session offers an outline of ways foster parents can best meet the goal of providing discipline that works. By reviewing several videos, participants learn specific discipline skills and their use with different types of children or youth and situations. Strategies for managing the behavior of children and youth who have experienced maltreatment and trauma is also discussed. Finally, the session focuses on the steps to take to manage crisis situations and de-escalate problem behaviors.

    • SESSION 7 - Planning for Change

      Overview: Session 7 takes a practical view of what to expect during the first hours, days, and weeks of a child or youth’s placement in a foster home. Participants will learn what to ask the social worker and how to talk to the child and youth. Participants will also have the opportunity to explore how placement can impact the foster family; particularly the foster parents own children or youth. This session explores both the immediate and the long-term impact of placement. Videos explore specific skills in dealing with the impact of fostering on different family members.

      Fostering carries some risks for foster families and these will be discussed. Participants explore ways to create a safe and healing home environment for children and youth who have experienced abuse, as well as strategies for handling the behaviors of these children and youth. The session ends with a look at how foster families find support from other team members.

    • SESSION 8 - Taking PRIDE – Making an Informed Decision

      In this closing session, participants will hear from a panel of experienced members of the protective intervention team. Birth parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, social workers, and other members of the team present their views about fostering and answer questions from participants. This gives participants a chance to reflect on their own growth in the knowledge and skills required for foster parenting.

PRIDE Home Assessment

The PRIDE home assessment process involves a series of meetings between a social worker and the prospective foster family. The social worker will talk with the applicant(s) and any other family members about their past and current life experiences and assess how these experiences influence the applicant’s ability to meet the five PRIDE competencies. The PRIDE Preservice information sessions and the assessment process enable the applicant(s) and the social worker to make a well-informed decision about the family’s willingness and ability to meet the expectations of becoming foster parents. A well-informed decision, based on understanding the needs of children, youth and their families, can better prepare foster parents for their role and reduce placement disruptions for children and youth in care.

Supporting Documentation Required

As part of the home assessment process, applicants are asked to provide some supporting documents to assist the social worker in assessing whether applicants meet the approval requirements and can provide a safe, loving and nurturing home for a child or youth in care.

1. Child Protection Clearance Check - A Child Protection Clearance Check is a check to determine if an applicant is involved or has had involvement with the Department or another child protection agency.

2. Criminal Record Checks - All persons residing in the home age 12 years or older are asked to provide a Certificate of Conduct. If an applicant or other individual residing in the home has been charged with a criminal offence, the social worker will take into account in the assessment process the nature of any criminal history. An application will not be processed if there is a previous conviction of a child-related crime.

3. Medical Reports - Applicants will be asked to have a medical form completed by their family doctor. A note from the family doctor will also be requested on children or other adults living in the home.

4. References - Applicants will be asked to provide the names of three individuals who are not related to them and who have known them for at least three years, as well as the name of a collateral community contact (e.g. minister, community leader, teacher).

5. Financial Assessment - A social worker may review with the applicant(s) their current financial circumstances. The purpose of this is to ensure that the applicant(s) will not rely solely upon the remuneration they receive as foster parents to meet their personal financial commitments.

6. Home Safety Check - A social worker will complete a home safety check to ensure applicants have the physical space to accommodate a child or youth, and that the home meets safety standards.

7. Birth Certificates - The social worker will ask for a copy of birth certificates for all persons living in the home.

I consider fostering to be one of the greatest privileges that I have had.

Foster Parent

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