About Foster Care
Children First is the Foster Care and Kinship Care Program for Unlimited Potential Community Services Society. This respected and successful service provider of child, youth and family services brings a number of advantages to the implementation of a community-based Foster Care Program. Currently ChildrenFirst has a number of Foster Homes within the areas of Edmonton, Leduc, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, Devon, Beaumont, Red Deer & Rocky Mountain House.
Child and Family Service Authority
Edmonton’s Child and Family Services Authority (Region 6) exists to protect and promote the social well-being of children in crisis. It does this by developing and administering statutory and mandated child and family service programs. Child Protection Services exists to ensure that the survival, security and development of children are protected. Its responsibilities include child protection, foster care, adoptions, group homes and other areas involving children and families.
The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act
Alberta’s Child Welfare Act was replaced in November 2004 by the new Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (Family Enhancement Act). It is the legal authority for providing Child Protection Services in Alberta. The principles of the Family Enhancement Act guide Child Protection Workers in their work with families. The Family Enhancement Act stresses the importance of family and the use of the least intrusive measures to protect the child. The Act also specifies the circumstances under which a child may be in need of protection.
Purpose of the Foster Care Program
The goals of the ChildrenFirst Foster Care Program reflect the philosophy of the Family Enhancement Act. Our Foster Care Program is based on the belief that a family and community is the most beneficial and desirable environment for raising a child. A foster family is a temporary family for a child who cannot remain with his or her own family. The supportive trauma-informed atmosphere of a foster home assists a child in developing healthy self image and offers a positive model on which a child can pattern values and behavior. Generally, the goal of the program is to return the child to his or her own family when safe and as soon as possible. Where this is not feasible, alternate permanency plans for the child are made. These may include placement with a relative, private guardianship, adoption or independent living.
What Do We Try to Accomplish Through Foster Care?
Provide developmental child care and services best suited to the individual needs of the child, respecting the child’s family, culture, social and religious heritage.
Eliminate “foster care drift” (a child “drifting” in limbo in the system) by developing a long-term permanent plan for the child, which may include: time guidelines, counseling for the child and family, family training and help for the child to resolve issues. Foster families are a key part of this process.
Accept and support the biological or legal family. This is done by helping the family to stay involved with the children while they are in care, making it easier for the children and family to be reunited once the family has been stabilized.
Encourage the biological or legal family, the foster family and the child’s caseworkers to work together as a team to facilitate family reunification or an alternative plan for the child.