Caregivers are adults who provide children with typical day-to-day care and nurture them through difficult times. In the past, foster caregivers were referred to as foster parents. This term however, can be very misleading as children coming into care already have parents. The term ‘foster caregiver’ was introduced to make the transition into fostering less confusing for children. It might even feel like spending time with an auntie or uncle.
To become a caregiver, you do not need to be married, have children, or own your own home. You do need strong parenting skills, a love of children and the time to devote to a child physically as well as emotionally. Caregivers help children maintain their social, cultural, and religious connections. As the agency works toward helping bring children and families back together, caregivers are also involved with the child’s biological family through visits, meetings and by being supportive.
Becoming a caregiver is an important decision that will affect everyone living in your home. The guidelines below are intended to help you come to a decision whether fostering is the right fit for you and your family at this time in your life.
This means families are expected to be able to meet their personal financial obligations before becoming approved as caregivers. Caregivers are not paid a salary. At the end of the month, they receive a fixed daily rate to cover the expenses of the children they are caring for.
Children in care may share a room however, they are required to have their own bed. A child over the age of six may only share a room with another child of the same gender. Children in care cannot have bedrooms located in a basement.
Children thrive best when there is a full time caregiver in the home. In exceptional circumstances, working caregivers may care for children ages six and up. Approval of working parents is dependent on the applicant’s ability to identify an adult, referred to as an alternate caregiver, willing to take on the responsibility of a child’s day-to-day care. Alternate caregivers are non-working adults who do not reside in the foster home but live nearby. Often they are a neighbour, relative or friend. They will be required to complete part of the fostering approval process i.e. police checks, interviews, training.
All foster homes are required to be smoke free. Foster parents caring for babies between the ages of newborn and eighteen months must be non-smokers.
For more information, view our Fostering FAQ.