Need is great for foster caregivers in Hope and Agassiz

Information sessions planned in both communities over next two weeks

Since last fall, advocates have been sounding the alarm about a dire need for foster caregivers in the upper Fraser Valley.

To help fill the need in Agassiz and Hope, two information sessions are being held over the next two weeks for people interested in becoming a foster caregiver.

Over 1,000 kids across B.C. need temporary foster families. With a shortage of caregivers within the communities they live, children and youth are uprooted and moved to unfamiliar surrroundings, and in some cases, unfamiliar cultures.

Families and individuals who can open their homes to foster children can have a major influence on the lives of these children and youth, the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations said. “They need stable, nurturing people to care for children who for a variety of reasons, can’t live with their own family.”

There is also a strong need for Aboriginal —First Nations, Metis and Inuit —caregivers as 60 per cent of youth in care in B.C. are Aboriginal.

In November, recruitment worker for the Ministry of Children and Family Development Colleen Johnson said there was a desperate shortage of caregivers. Hope only had 10 regular foster families at the time and families who were regular foster parents were growing older and retiring. Some were unable to keep caring for foster children.

Over the next two weeks, two information sessions are being held for people interested in becoming foster parents. Those interested need to reserve a seat by calling Colleen Johnson at 604-316-4599.

The first information session will be held in Hope, Feb. 27 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ministry of Children and Family Development office at 833 Third Ave. A session will be held in Agassiz, March 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ministry office on 7278 Pioneer Ave.

To learn more about fostering, visit www.fosteringconnections.ca. The website includes a questionnaire to help decide if fostering is right for you, along with several videos of families who have been through the fostering experience.

-With files from Jessica Peters


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emelie.peacock@hopestandard.com

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