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October 22, 2009
For immediate release

Prince Edward Island Celebrates Foster Families at Annual Gathering

Social Services and Seniors

Prince Edward Island’s foster families are gathering in Summerside on Saturday to share their stories and challenges and to learn from a visiting expert who specializes in high-risk youth, says Social Services and Seniors Minister Doug Currie.

Parents are gathering for the PEI Federation of Foster Families’ annual general meeting this Saturday at Causeway Bay Linkletter Hotel in Summerside. The event is being held during National Foster Families Week.

“The gathering is a great opportunity for Prince Edward Island’s foster families to reunite once a year, and share their experiences while also building new skills. It’s also a time for our Child and Family Services staff to thank these families for their incredible commitment to protecting Prince Edward Island’s most vulnerable children and youth,” said Minister Currie.

There are currently 91 foster families in Prince Edward Island, who help care for approximately 300 children and youth who are in the legal guardianship of the Director of Child Welfare.

“Just like regular families, we like to gather from time to time to share our joys and frustrations and to re-connect,” said Nancy MacFarlane, a longtime foster parent and member of the PEI Federation of Foster Families. “We have been placing a big emphasis in recent months on recruiting more Island families to consider opening their hearts and their homes to children in need, and this gathering is a great reminder of why the work we do is both challenging and rewarding,” MacFarlane said.

Media are invited to join the families during the morning portion of the event, when Evelyn Wotherspoon will talk about strategies that foster families can use in addressing behavioural issues with high-risk children. Wotherspoon is the project leader of the Infant Mental Health and Family Law Initiative in Calgary, and a social worker who has devoted her 25-year career to high-risk children and families. She provides mental health consultations to child welfare workers, lawyers and judges in Canada and the United States, and has published numerous articles and reports about her research.

The meeting is Saturday at the Caseway Bay Linkletter Hotel at 311 Market Street in Summerside.

Media Contact: Island Information Service
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