What is a Caregiver?
Caregivers are individuals who believe that children are sacred gifts from the Creator, They open their hearts and homes to children whose biological family are not able to, for a period of time, meet the child’s holistic needs. Caregivers give freely of their time, energy and love. Caregivers provide more than food and shelter; they invest in the child emotionally and integrate the child into all aspects of the Care family’s life. These people are often referred to as “foster parents”.
Do I need special qualifications to be a Caregiver?
The most important qualification is the sincere desire to make a positive difference in the life of a child. Being a good listener, have a non-judgmental attitude and being able to give the time and focus on the child’s strengths are equally important. A sense of humor and the ability to be feasible and forgiving are also essential skills.
The application process consists of an Alternative Care Worker conducting a home visit during which time you and your family will be asked to provide background information about your family, including the reasons why you desire to become a caregiver.
- The names of three individuals (references) whom you believe will support your application.
- A letter from your family doctor verifying that you have no known medical conditions that would affect your ability to provide a stable, nurturing environment for a child.
- A criminal record check pertaining to each individual over 18 years of age who resides in your home.
Once all that information is received and meets the criteria, we will proceed with the homestudy process. This includes speaking to all family members about having foster children in the home. There will be 3 interviews conducted, one with the mother, one with the father and one as a family.
The potential Foster Parent(s) will be asked questions about themselves and their family in order to get to know them better and this will help the Alternative Care Coordinator make an appropriate decision whether this would be a suitable home or not.
There will also be a safety assessment of the home to make sure that the home has things such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, an evacuation process in the case of a fire, windows in the bedrooms, etc. A Service Agreement will also have to be signed by all potential Foster Parent(s). This outlines what the Agency’s responsibilities are as well as what the Caregiver responsibilities are. There will also have to be an Oath of Confidentiality that will have to be signed by the Foster Parent(s). Information on the children and family that is talked about will not be shared with anyone else but the Foster Parent(s) and the Agency.
A written assessment and homestudy will be completed by the Alternative Care Worker as soon as possible following all of the interviews and an on-site inspection of the home. When the decision is made to approve an application to foster the written assessment will support the applicant’s ability and capacity to meet the needs of a foster child. The assessment will include the Alternative Care Workers recommendation regarding the age, sex and number of children to be placed in that home, taking into consideration the applicants willingness/flexibility to be considered for other children in the future with support, training and education, as well as any specific preference(s) stated by the applicant.
There will be Pre-Service Training that will be offered to all new Foster Parents. Some of the topics that are covered are Traditional Teachings, Natural Family, Communicable Diseases, Discipline, Sexual Abuse, Stages of Child Development, Separation Trauma and the Foster Care System. This is intended to better the Foster Parent(s) ability to help and understand the children that they may have in their home.
A letter of acceptance or rejection will be sent to the foster parents to let them know what the outcome of the homestudy is.