Be a Foster Parent
Every day, foster families across Prince Edward Island open their homes and their hearts to children who need safe and loving homes. At any given time, there are about 170 children in foster care receiving a safe and nurturing home environment where they feel loved and supported.
Foster families play an important role in our communities by providing care on a short or long-term basis for children up to age 18.
Perhaps you have been thinking about welcoming a child into your home through foster care. This information may help you decide if this is the right choice for you and your family at this time.
Am I eligible to care for a foster child?
You can apply to become a PEI foster parent if you are a stable, healthy and mature adult who enjoys children or youth. You should also be able to answer 'yes' to the following questions:
- Are you are at least 21 years old?
- Do you live in PEI (and have for at least six months) and plan to stay for at least two years?
- Is your family financially stable with adequate housing and a private bedroom for a foster child?
- Would you meet assessment criteria including criminal-record and child-protection-record checks?
Please note: The assessment process involves making the best possible match for the foster child and your family and may last several months.
Who comes into foster care?
Children from infancy to age 17 come into foster care for a variety of reasons. Each child has experienced some level of loss and may have experienced neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse. At times, a child in foster care presents significant health and behavioural challenges that require more intensive care.
At times, foster care is assigned to more than one child in a family. Families willing to care for more than one child help make it possible for children from the same family to continue living together.
Do I have any say in who is assigned to my care?
Yes, before any placement is finalized, you will receive as much information as possible about the child’s age, gender and specific needs. This information will help you to be sure this is the best possible match for your family.
How long will a foster child stay with me?
Foster children are reunited with their birth parents as soon as possible. Many placements are temporary, lasting from a few days to several months. At times, a child comes into care permanently, staying in a foster home for a longer time. You may be asked to help an older child in permanent care work towards independence.
What support is offered to foster families?
- You are entitled and encouraged to take two respite days each month, or more for special circumstances with prior notice.
- You will receive monthly compensation based on your foster child’s needs and required level of care.
- Social workers, assigned to both you and your foster child, will support you.
- A province-wide foster parent support group meets monthly to share experiences and support, receive special training and get updates on Child Protection Services policies and practices.
Can I be employed while I am a foster parent?
Yes, however, your employment and availability may impact the age and needs of children placed in your home.
What if I am a single parent?
You can still become a foster parent if you are single. Albeit, factors such as child care arrangements must be considered.
Will I have contact with the child’s birth family?
Contact between a birth family and foster family is coordinated through a Child Protection social worker who will supervise each visit. Most visits take place at a pre-determined location in the community or, if appropriate, in the birth family home. If you agree, it is possible for birth parents to visit the child in your home.
Can I tell others that I am a foster parent?
Yes, within reason. Your family and close friends will know you are a foster parent and, with appropriate checks complete, will be a great source of support to you. It is not acceptable to share personal or confidential information about a foster child or a child’s birth family.
What is the difference between foster care and adoption?
Foster care is a temporary family for a child. Adoption is a permanent family for a child. As a foster parent, your goal is to help a child and birth family reunite. When a child is unable to return home and the court terminates parental rights, the child becomes available for adoption.
Who may I contact with further questions about foster parenting?
General Contact Information
Telephone: (902) 368-5330
Charlottetown, Montague and Souris
Telephone: (902) 368-5381
Summerside and O'Leary
Telephone: (902) 888-8100
Room for One More?
Produced by the Canadian Foster Family Association
Produced by youth and alumni members of Youth in Care Canada