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October 15, 2004
For immediate release

Minister Recognizes the Valuable Contribution of Foster Families

Health and Social Services

October 17 to 23 is National Foster Family Week. Foster families play a vital role in the care of Island children and youth, Minister of Health and Social Services Chester Gillan noted today.

“In Prince Edward Island, we have 144 families who have opened their homes to children in need of a safe place to stay,” the minister said. “These families offer shelter and relief, and I commend them all for their commitment and dedication to children in need.”

Potential foster families undergo an extensive screening, assessment and pre-service training program before they can become approved foster care givers. Once the process has been successfully completed, foster families provide service through annual contracted agreements between them, the pertinent health region CEO, and the Director of Child Welfare.

Every year foster families participate in a Fall College, which provides them with an opportunity to refresh their skills and learn about the latest resources available to them. This year, the Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (PRIDE) Foster Care Training Program will be introduced at the college.

“The PRIDE Foster Care Training Program is used extensively throughout North America. It is a comprehensive training package developed in the United States by a number of state foster parent associations working together to develop a resource that is relevant and useful to all foster families,” Ron Stanley, Director of Child Welfare, explained.

Stanley encourages families who are thinking about becoming foster families to contact their local Child and Family Service office to learn more about the approval process.

“We always welcome new foster families. Even with the number that we have, there is still a need for more families to care for children when they have to be removed from their own homes,” he noted.

Children may need to be removed from their homes if their health and well-being are in jeopardy. When children enter foster care, it is usually with the intention that the arrangement will be short-term, pending permanent placement with a family or a return to their own home, if at all possible.

“Obviously, having to leave one’s home is very traumatic, especially for children and youth. Foster families provide a loving and emotionally supportive environment for them in this time of crisis,” the minister noted.

For more information about becoming a foster family, contact Shirley Cole, Child Protection/Foster Care Supervisor for the Department of Health and Social Services at (902) 368-6725.

Media Contact: Sara Underwood
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