To Foster is to Share Heart and Home with a Child


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About Us

 

Historical Overview

The Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association was established in 1981 with a mandate to provide support to foster Families and to advocate on fostering issues. For nineteen years the Association worked on behalf of foster families to improve the foster care system in the province. In September 2000, the Department of Health and Community Services in partnership with the Board of Directors hired an external consultant to complete an evaluation of the Association.

In 2001, as a result of this evaluation government withdrew funding and the Association ceased operation. At the completion of the evaluation it was also recommended that a transition team be established to begin a process of rebuilding. This Transition Team was comprised of foster parents as well as representatives of the Department of Health and Community Services and the regional Health and Community Services/Integrated Boards. In February 2003, the Transition Team completed its work and a new Board of Directors assumed the leadership role.

 
Mandate

To advance and promote the professional role of foster parents.

To provide a collective voice for Foster Families in Newfoundland and Labrador.

To promote collaborative partnerships that strengthen policies, programs and services which enhance the care and support provided to children and families in a manner that is sensitive to their cultural and individual needs.
 


Roles and Responsibilities

The Association has responsibilities in the areas of Education, Recruitment, Retention/Support and Advocacy and works with its community partners to meet these responsibilities.

 Education: Education and training for foster parents is critical to ensure they are adequately prepared to meet the needs of children in care. Educating the community about the role of foster families is also included in this responsibility area.

 Recruitment: There is a shortage of foster homes in most areas of the province. This means that children can not always be placed in their home communities and that there is often no opportunity to match children with homes that may best meet their needs. Research indicates that the best recruiters of new homes are current foster parents. The Association participates in recruitment initiatives and promotes a positive profile of foster care in the community.

 Retention and Support: The key to retaining existing foster homes is to ensure foster parents feel supported and valued. It is necessary to continually work toward strengthening the foster care program in the province and to ensure the development of local foster family associations.

 Advocacy: The Association advocates on issues that impact foster parents and the foster care system. It speaks as a collective voice for foster families throughout the province.

 

Values and Beliefs

 All children must be recognized for their inherent worth and valued for who they are as much as who they will become. Children have a right to be raised in a safe, stable, nurturing environment that ensures their physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural health and well being. Families and communities have a shared responsibility in this regard. This responsibility is best achieved through collaborative efforts in accordance with the following values and beliefs:

 

 Children

  • Children's physical and emotional safety and development must be assured.
  • Children should be raised in a stable, nurturing environment (most often described as a family): that can meet their physical needs, as well as provide security, nurturing, respect and love.
  • Children's voices must be considered and respected in determining their best interests.
  • A child's development is dependent upon the strength of the parent/child relationship as well as the stability of the relationship among the adults who care for and are responsible for the child.


Family

  • Most parents want to and are able to help their children grow into healthy capable adults.
  • Parents do not have fixed capacities and needs, like their children, they are developing and changing and need support through difficult transitional phases of life.
  • Parents are likely to become better parents if they feel competent in other areas of their lives, such as jobs, school, and other family and social relationships.
  • Parents and families hold the primary responsibility for the health and well being of their children and with providing them with a safe, nurturing environment within which they can develop into productive adults.

 

Community

  • Children and their families have the right to early community support for healthy growth, made available in the communities in which they live, that does not interfere in the family's autonomy. Programs should rely upon voluntary participation and provide parents with the skills and knowledge they need to advocate for themselves and their children.
  • Communities must strengthen and support families so that they can nurture and promote the children's development adequately and safely. Therefore communities must take a collaborative leadership role in defining the systems of supports for children and their families with their federal, provincial and local governments, businesses, private agencies, religious, spiritual and voluntary organizations all assuming their appropriate responsibilities for the funding and provision of such supports.
  • Goals for children must reflect Canada's rich and diverse traditions and cultures.
  • The protections granted to children by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child must be preserved.