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Foster Family Association Advocacy Support Program

The Foster Family Association, in partnership with the Agency, has created an advocacy team to support and guide foster families in their dealings with the Agency.

OUR VISION:  To serve the best interests of the children and youth in our care by building and strengthening mutually respectful and trusting relationships between foster families and the Agency.

OUR MISSION:  To support, educate and empower Foster Parents in the resolution of any conflicts or crisis situations they may have with the Agency.

Advocates will be provided in the following situations:

A.   To support Foster Parents against whom an allegation or service complaint has been made pertinent to the Child and Family Service Act. The Advocate’s role will be:

  • To explain the process of allegation investigations.
  • To assist Foster Parents with coping.
  • To assist Foster Parent at meetings when requested.
  • To supply physical support when needed (meals, etc.).

B.   To assist and support Foster Parents who wish to resolve a conflict they may be experiencing within the Agency. The Advocate’s role will be:

  • To assist Foster Parents with concerns and complaints.
  • To support Foster Parents at meetings when requested.
  • To advocate on Foster Parents’ behalf when requested.
  • To assist Foster Parents to work through and resolve difficult situations.
  • To assist Foster Parents to learn about agency policies and procedures.

Appointment of Advocates

The Foster Family Association will appoint members to act as advocates in the Advocacy Support program at the FFA Annual General Meeting each year. It is expected that parents serving in the role meet the following profile:  

The Foster Parent Advocate Criteria/Profile

  • Have fostered for a minimum of five (5) years.
  • Have own transportation.
  • Be available to meet with Foster Parents weekends or evenings if necessary.
  • Have demonstrated a strong commitment to the fostering community through training, attendance at Foster Family Association meetings, support to other Foster Parents. Possess the ability to objectively assist Foster Parents to resolve concerns/issues.
  • Have excellent verbal and written skills, with the ability to produce reports and keep records.
  • Possess the ability to communicate effectively on a professional level with Society staff and Foster Parents.
  • Have the ability to empathize with the feelings of “stressed parties”, and maintain their objectivity to assist in finding resolution for problems encountered.
  • Clearly understand the guidelines regarding confidentiality.
  • Have sound knowledge of Foster Care Licensing Requirements.
  • Be knowledgeable of the Society’s policies and procedures pertinent to fostering.
  • Have a familiarity with the policies and procedures re investigations or other concerns and the structure of the Children’s Aid Society.
  • Have an understanding of the Child & Family Services Act.
  • Knowledgeable re police procedures and Agency procedures.
  • Be prepared to meet regularly as a team, and when required, at review meetings with the Resource Supervisor and Children’s Services Manager in order to ascertain and review whether all goals and objectives of the Advocacy Support program have been met, without breaching any confidential information the Advocate may possess.

Each Foster Parent assuming a support role must commit to:

  • Maintaining complete confidentiality regarding any circumstance they are consulted on or involved in, and will sign an agreement to that effect.
  • Acting professionally and being impartial when involved in situations.
  • Maintaining a positive attitude and providing a supportive message to Foster Parents.
  • Maintaining a positive working relationship with the agency regardless of personal issues that may intertwine our support efforts.
  • Attend any Advocate meetings on a regular basis and take all training provided.
  • Foster Parents will receive a list of Foster Parent Advocates but may also call the Agency reception desk, the FFA or the Resource department for contact information.
  • When Agency staff or fellow Foster Parents recognize that a Foster Parent needs some support they are asked to encourage the individual to call an advocate. To respect and keep from breaching confidentiality the Foster Parent should make the first call but may ask a worker or other person to make the call for them.
  • In the case of an allegation against the foster family, Resource staff are directed in their policy manual to inform the Foster Parent of their right to an advocate at the commencement of an investigation or service complaint response by the Agency.
  • Advocates meet up to 8 times per year. The Families to Permanence Supervisor and a Resource Worker are liaisons and supports to the Foster Parent advocates.

Communication:

  • Foster Parents will receive a list of Foster Parent Advocates but may also call the Agency reception desk, the FFA or the Resource department for contact information.
  • When Agency staff or fellow Foster Parents recognize that a Foster Parent needs some support they are asked to encourage the individual to call an advocate. To respect and keep from breaching confidentiality the Foster Parent should make the first call but may ask a worker or other person to make the call for them.
  • In the case of an allegation against the foster family, Resource staff are directed in their policy manual to inform the Foster Parent of their right to an advocate at the commencement of an investigation or service complaint response by the Agency.
  • Advocates meet up to 8 times per year. The Families to Permanence Supervisor and a Resource Worker are liaisons and supports to the Foster Parent advocates.