October is Foster Family Month in B.C., a time to honour the tremendous contributions foster families make in communities all across our province. It is also a time to recognize the remarkable contributions foster families make in the lives of children, youth and families.
Every young person deserves security, stability and a welcoming home in a home environment where they can live, grow and thrive. Foster parents play an integral role in doing so, by helping support young people develop the resilience they need to reach their full potential. Every day in B.C., around 3,200 foster families open their hearts and their homes to about 5,900 vulnerable children and youth.
As a member of the Select Standing Committee on Children and Youth, a mother and grandmother, I understand the role that family and deep, lifelong commitment in a supportive and loving environment plays in the life of a child. Foster families can help provide a solid foundation for a child or teenager to develop into a confident adult. They help children and teenagers return to their families, live with extended family, or transition to an adoptive family.
The B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations and the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents offer support, encouragement and a voice for B.C.’s foster parents. In partnership with our government, the organizations focus on public awareness, recruitment and retention of foster parents to help build the best system of care for children and youth. Not everyone can be a foster parent. It takes devoted and caring people to perform this important service. If you, or someone you know, might be interested in foster parenting, I ask you to encourage them to call the Foster Line at 1-800-663-9999 for more information.
I want to offer my sincerest thanks to all the foster families in our community for their dedication and commitment to children, youth and families here at home. You are making a real and positive difference.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.