For decades, communities have been plagued with incessant early childhood trauma that has adverse effects on a child’s self-esteem, coping skills, school performance, self-regulation, critical thinking, self-motivation, and the ability to build healthy relationships. This phenomenon has caused the need for foster parenting to spike.
To become a foster parent in Ontario, you will need to contact and apply through the licensed foster care agency nearest to you, complete 36 hours of required pre-service training, participate in the required home study, and pass all required security checks. You will also be required to take a few online or in-person courses on foster parenting, and join your local foster care society for tips, regular updates in the foster care community.
Foster parents in Ontario can provide a foster home to up to four children at a time, subject to a few exceptions.
How To Become A Foster Parent In Ontario?
Becoming a foster parent can be a challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling experience. You will be tasked with voluntarily joining together, and bringing up a family that is not bound by blood ties.
The first step to becoming a foster parent in Ontario is to contact the nearest licensed foster care agency or your local children’s aid agency. The next step is to tick the following necessary checks required by the province of Ontario:
1. Criminal record checks
A police check is required for every applicant over the age of 16, to make sure you or your family members have not been convicted of a felony. You must also be at least 21 years old to qualify to be a foster parent.
You should be willing to attend 36 hours of training before getting licenced as a recognized foster parent. Also, your home should be available for planned and unplanned professional visitations.
You or someone in your family must be able to read and write in fluent English. It will be preferable to have at least a high school diploma, or equivalent certification.
4. Income checks
You need to have a source of income that caters to your basic needs. You should also be free from the bottlenecks of loans, and overdue mortgage payments.
5. Health checks
You must be able to provide a medical statement stating that you have no conditions that would interfere with your ability to provide care for a foster child.
You must also be free from any mental condition that could endanger a child.
You will be asked to provide two personal references for the application process. The referees should be someone other than a relative who has known you for over two years and also lives in Ontario. The referees will be asked to complete a form, and they must be open to professional visitations (routine collaborative checks). Your employer will also be contacted for a reference.
7. Overseas and Military checks
Relevant authorities will be deployed to check your activities outside of Ontario if you have lived overseas or served in the armed forces.
8. Child protection check
Your home or apartment must pass fire and peculiar hazard inspection. You should also be baby-proof (yes, you should get rid of all that pointy furniture edges sticking out, and take care of your slippery kitchen floors) your house if you’re applying to foster children below the age of three.
If you have been involved in a previous significant relationship, the child foster care authorities are under strict guidance to contact your ex-partner for domestic violence checks. This can only be prevented if you can provide significant evidence that it would not cause distress or threat to the children you intend to foster.
10. Home, garden, and neighborhood
Your house and surroundings will need to be assessed for safety, important child care facilities, and access to schools. Garden ponds and water features must have a permanent child-safe plastic cover or grid when fostering children under ten.
11. Household members
The assessing social worker assigned to you during your application will hold individual discussions with every member of your household to discuss their feelings and attitudes towards your planned fostering.
Any pets in your home will also be assessed for safety, to ensure that there is no danger to children. You should not own dogs classified under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 or you will not be considered. The dangerous dogs include Japanese Tosa, Pit Bull Terrier, Fila Brasileiro, and Dogo Argentino.
After the successful completion of the steps above, you will be able to specify the gender, age, medical and behavioral characteristics of a foster child that you are or are not willing to care for. You will also qualify for a license to provide foster care that will be issued by the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services in Ontario.
How Long Does It Take To Be A Foster Parent In Ontario
The journey to becoming a foster parent can take between four and six months. During this time, you will be provided with all the information you need; including the do’s and don’ts involved in foster care, and understand how fostering will change your family.
How Much Does A Foster Parent Earn In Ontario?
You will receive a total of $77.25 per day for each foster child in your care, and a total of $60.00 per day for a child over the age of 16. You can get up to $1,107.05 per week for children with special needs in your care.
This amount covers the child’s expenses as well as your allowance. It is, however, mandatory that you establish a savings account for the foster child and make the payments received to it.
Also, as a foster parent, you will be exempted from paying tax on your income from fostering due to a specialist tax rule known as ‘qualifying care relief’.
Are Foster Parents In High Demand In Ontario
Statistics have shown that for every 1,000 children in Canada, 9.2 of them are in foster care. The number of foster parents in Ontario is currently not enough to cater to the number of children that require foster care.