Manitoba Family Services

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Join the Circle of Care

Deciding to be a foster parent is an important commitment, but virtually all foster parents say the rewards are great. There are five steps to becoming a licensed foster parent:

  1. Orientation
    Everyone who applies to foster a child must first attend an orientation session. It helps applicants (and their families) decide if they are ready to take on the responsibility of fostering a child. Applicants are given information about the foster placement process and the challenges and rewards of fostering children, including:

    • what the  CFS agency expects foster families to do
    • what support the agency can provide
    • information on fostering children with  special needs
    • how to deal with attachment issues, effects of abuse and neglect
    • the role of the birth family for children in care
    This information may be provided in a formal group session or in an individual or small group session, depending on the agency and number of applicants, etc.
  1. Application Review
    All applications must go through several checks and interviews, including:

    • background checks
    • criminal record checks
    • child abuse registry check
    • reference checks
    • medical checks
    • interviews with other household members
    Reference checks
    The Foster Homes Licensing Regulation states all applicants must provide references. Some agencies also have a local CFS agency child-care committee review the application to determine if the applicant has the ability to protect, nurture and care for the child.

    The CFS agency must verify all the references and interview at least one of them. The agency must be convinced of the applicant’s ability to protect, nurture and care for the number of children they are applying to foster in the home.

    Medical check
    All foster parents must have a current medical certificate stating they are physically capable of providing proper child care.
  1. Inspections/interviews

    Physical home inspection
    The agency must inspect the physical structure and condition of the home.  The home must meet all bylaws, codes, standards, regulations and legislation (ex: building codes and public health).  The agency must be satisfied the applicant’s home is appropriate for foster children with adequate space for living, sleeping and recreation.

    Home study
    To ensure applicants can handle the responsibility of fostering, the CFS agency must do a home study. Generally these can take four to six weeks and include lengthy interviews about the applicants:

    • readiness to foster
    • parenting history and style
    • understanding of child development
    • ability to care for children with special needs
    • family strengths and vulnerabilities
    • relationships among family members
    There will also be discussion about:

    • affects of having a foster child in the family
    • supports the family can rely on
    • health care
    • roles of parents and CFS caseworkers in decision-making
    Foster parents must agree there will be no physical punishment used on a foster child.
  1. Licensing

    If the home study shows the family is able to provide proper care, the CFS worker will recommend them for a foster care licence. The recommendation can include restrictions and suggestions for an appropriate match (ex: not able to care for children with behaviour problems; or able to care for children with physical handicaps).  The final application, report and recommendation go to the CFS agency director to approve the licence.

    The licence will identify any conditions placed on the foster care, including age range and gender of children to be placed there. Agencies always search for the most suitable home for every child in their care. CFS caseworkers look at any restrictions on the licence and the recommendations in the report. The recommendations may change over time as the foster parents gain more experience, get training in specialized areas, have changes in life circumstances, etc.

    Whenever possible, the CFS case worker will set up a home visit (or visits, or an overnight stay) with the child before the actual placement.  The length of time and number of visits vary (ex: emergency placement, installing equipment for special needs). 
  1. Follow-up

    The CFS caseworker will review the child-care plan with the foster parents and set up the financial and support resources required.  The foster parents must be willing to work closely with the caseworker to meet the needs of the child.

    For more information on foster parenting: phone 1-888-995-JOIN (5646).
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