The Saskatchewan Foster Families Association exists to support and encourage foster families through education and advocacy, helping create healthy homes and brighter futures for children and youth in care across the province. Their goal is to encourage families to open their homes to children and youth who need care, provide positive environments, and ultimately, make our world a better place.
Wayne Roman has been working for the SFFA for eleven years. “There are no problems that are unique to Aboriginal parents,” Wayne said. “All potential parents go through an 8 month assessment process and can be counselled out at any time. All foster parents are required to take 51 hours of training to become foster parents. In Saskatchewan, this includes taking a cultural component which details the cultural beliefs and traditions of the First Nations people.”
The foster care system can be challenging for foster parents to navigate without support. The SFFA is there to guide parents through various processes including Ministry of Social Services investigations. In addition, they explain policy and provide resources to help foster parents and children with any questions that might come up during their time together. “The SFFA reaches out to all foster children,” Wayne said. “Whether or not a child comes into foster care is not bound by race or culture. Foster children do not always come from dysfunctional families either. A single mother needing surgery may seek the assistance of the foster care system to care for her child while in recuperation.”
The right help can make all the difference to foster families. Education, advocacy, and a place to turn for advice can help foster parents provide the support and healthy homes that foster children need. Training programs for parents and children can help foster families develop a deeper understanding of each other and the process, manage stress, and build effective relationships. The SFFA even offers first aid and CPR courses to help ensure that children stay safe.
Wayne Roman emphasizes the importance of supporting the new parent. “There is no guarantee that any foster parent will be successful in their career overall or with any particular child. It is not so much finding the right parent but rather offering them the proper support during career.”