Foster Families

Newborns, teenagers, and even sibling groups who are unable to remain in their family home all need love, nurturing, and a safe place to live where their most basic childhood needs can be met.

Foster Families are Child and Family Services of Western Manitoba’s primary resource for these children. Foster family parents work in partnership with social workers, other professionals, and the child’s birth parents to give children the best support possible. CFS of Western Manitoba’s foster families receive ongoing training and support in dealing with the challenges and rewards of fostering.

For more information about becoming a foster family, email fostering@cfswestern.mb.ca or call 204-726-7190 (toll free 1-800-483-8980). You can also learn more by reviewing our Foster Families brochure located on our website under the Media tab, or by visiting the links below.

Foster Parent Eligibility

Foster parents are at least 18 years old – male or female. They are married, single, divorced or widowed. They are fluent in English and may be bilingual. They may come from different cultural backgrounds. They may rent or own their home, be retired, or employed outside the home. Foster parents can have no children or children of their own.

Our Agency’s belief is that family-based care is vital to children and our foster families are the key link in meeting the needs of these children.

Who Foster Children Are

Foster children need to be placed with foster families that can open their hearts and homes to meet the child’s needs and right to be cared for safely.

Even when coming into Agency care is required, children feel their world is turned upside down. They can feel scared, confused, hurt, powerless, and lost. Some foster children have experienced neglect, abandonment, and/or exposure to domestic violence. For some of these children, physical, sexual, or mental abuse has been real. Their previous experiences and feelings can lead to behavioural and emotional difficulties.

Where Foster Families Fit

CFS of Western Manitoba is responsible to plan for children when their safety is compromised in their home. These children, impacted by family crisis, are in need of temporary homes and families who can provide safe, healthy, and stable homes. Being a foster family means offering daily care, direction, and a sense of belonging for the foster child. Ultimately, the goal of our Agency, in part through this foster care, is to have children return to their parental homes.

When this is not possible, our Agency is also responsible to ensure each child’s right to a lasting and loving home is realized. This can include adoptions, long term foster care, or preparation for independence.

Foster Family/Parent FAQ’s

Q:        How are foster parents compensated?
A:         There are a number of approved methods for financially compensating foster parents.

  • Basic Maintenance Rate reimburses foster parents for expenses incurred meeting day-to-day needs of foster children and is set based on the age of the child:
    • Per diem rate is $22.11 for fostering children ages 0-10.
    • Per diem rate is $27.45 for fostering children ages 11-17.
  • Special Rate compensate foster parents based on their demonstrated abilities to meet the needs of a specific child.

Q:        What support is available to foster families?
A:         CFS of Western Manitoba provides individual and ongoing support via the foster families’ support worker. Training via workshops, conferences, and accredited courses is also made available to foster parents.

Q:        What is it like to be a foster parent?
A:         Foster parenting, just like regular parenting, can be challenging yet very rewarding.

Q:        Who are the foster children?
A:         A foster child can be of any gender between newborn and 18. Coming into Agency care means an interruption in a child’s attachment with their natural parents and sometimes these traumatized children have special needs that may include behavioural, emotional, or learning disabilities. They require care, nurturing, comfort, security, and stability. As well, often the Agency needs foster homes that can accept sibling groups.

Q:        I have a previous criminal record. Am I ineligible?
A:         Discuss your criminal record with a social worker. Any positive results of a criminal record check are evaluated as part of a home assessment. Convictions that include violence, threats, and/or actions reflecting poor judgment and potentially compromising child safety would point to ineligibility for acceptance as a foster parent/family.

Fostering Myths

#385 “Every child is a fountain of joy.”
#386 “Every child is an endless supply of misery.”
In reality, every foster child has individual strengths and challenges. By matching each child to the ability, experience, and comfort level of their foster family, we make it easier and more rewarding for everyone.

#614 “The flood gate is your front door.”
In reality, our goal is to achieve a comfortable, low-stress environment for every foster family and foster child. So whether it’s a few children or just one child, any help you can give will make all the difference to our foster kids. Foster parents have the right to decline accepting placement of a child offered to them without reprisal. It is important to know yourself and your family’s capacity and to know you have a voice.

#428 “Applicants must be rich, Christian, mortgage free, and direct descendents of British royalty.”
In reality, foster parents can be from any cultural background, single or common-law couples, home owners or renters, middle class, of modest income, or even retired. Knowing that you don’t have to be an impossibly perfect super-parent is just one more reason to consider fostering.

#73 “We’ll throw you to the wolves with nothing but a half-hearted ‘good luck’.”
In reality, all foster parents are provided with ongoing training and assistance for any issue that might arise. From access to a foster home support worker to allowances for major and miscellaneous fees, we’re here to help you every step of the way.

#824 “No one cares what age or gender you would prefer.”
In reality, we take into account your wishes and what fits best with your family before placing a child in your care. Making everyone comfortable with the foster situation ensures the most welcoming experience for the foster child.

#216 “They’re all perfect little angels.”
#217 “They’re all mischievous little troublemakers.”
In reality, foster children run the whole spectrum of personalities. By finding the right fit between the challenges of the child and the abilities of the foster family, we make life better for everyone.

#154 “You’ll get diapers, sex questions, and trig homework all on the first day.”
In reality, while we do expect our foster parents to hit the ground running, you will have developed a working relationship with us in the home study phase. This knowledge will help us make the journey manageable for the foster child and for you. So whether your foster child is a newborn baby, an active toddler, or an awkward teen, we’ll be there to support you.

#592 “It’s a great way to get rich.”
#593 “It’s a guaranteed way to go broke.”
In reality, foster parents will receive a per diem rate to cover most of the child’s or children’s expenses. But let’s be real: the regular monthly rate for a child newborn to 11 is $663.30 for a 30 day month and $823.50 for a child aged 11-17. Most foster parents do dip into their own pocket and it is important to consider that when applying to foster. We do not expect foster parents to subsidize foster children. But most families tell us those extras are not always financial that tell the child they are part of the family are vital.

#19 “You’ve got to be Mother Theresa.”
In reality, foster parents come to us with a wide variety of life experiences. Mostly, we are looking for people who want to make a difference in a child’s life – people who know how to use their words and not physical force to make changes in behaviour, can wait to see results, understand that small things matter big, and can look for the positive or at least be willing to be led there.

and

#1 “Someone like you can’t be a foster parent.”
It starts by contacting us. Find out how you can help a foster child by calling 204-726-7190 (toll free 1-800-483-8980) or emailing fostering@http://cfswestern.mb.ca.