Fostering: Foster a Child, Change a Life
Make a difference in the life of a child and your own!
When a family becomes involved with The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton, the Society makes every effort to keep children in their own home. When this is not possible and a relative or kin are not able to step in, a child may be brought into the care of the Society. Foster family care is the first choice in these situations because most children’s needs are best met in a family environment.
Foster parents provide a stable and supportive home for children who need a temporary place to live. They provide day-to-day care, including supervision, guidance, and affection. Children may be placed with a foster family for a few days, several months, and sometimes even years, depending on their situation. It is always the hope that in time a child can be reunited with his or her family.
The Society’s foster parents come from a variety of backgrounds and can be single, including LGBTQ, married or living in a common-law relationship, and with or without children of their own. They range in age from their twenties to senior citizens. They also represent a range of cultural, ethnic, and religious backgrounds.
Children in Care
Children are in foster care for different reasons including neglect, abuse, family conflict, and parental illness. They come from many different and diverse backgrounds from low income to the affluent; they could live next door, attend your place of worship, or be playmates of your children. They are members of your community. Children entering foster care range in age from newborns to sixteen. Foster families may choose the age range and gender of the child they care for.
The Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton has a need for foster families to care for children and teens of all ages including sibling groups. An ongoing challenge for the Society is finding families to care for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. To care for a child under age 5, one parent must be home full-time.
There are many reasons people decide to foster. For some people there is a personal connection: they either knew someone who was in care as a child or perhaps know someone who is a foster parent. Often, people think about fostering for years before they find themselves in a position to take it to the next step. Sometimes, fostering presents itself when a child known to a family is in need of a safe and stable home.
Everyone who fosters has chosen to make children a big part of their life. Many foster parents are inspired by the idea of making a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. Some view fostering as a way of giving back to one’s community. Others credit their faith as their primary motivation.
On a more practical level, some families opt to foster because it fits in well with their lifestyle. Some families who have young children of their own view fostering as an alternative to working outside the home. Since one parent is already home full-time, fostering makes sense. Other couples, including retirees, may have children who have grown and left home yet they still have a desire to parent younger children.
Some families feel that they are fortunate to have a safe and happy home and wish to share their life with a child who needs such a home.
“These children are right here in our backyard. What would happen to them if we didn’t have foster parents? They have bruises that will last a lifetime, but if you can heal the wounds just a little – if you can give a child a hug or a little extra love – then you can make a difference for the rest of their life.”
– Foster/Adoptive Mom, Hamilton CAS