The Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association was established in 1981 with a mandate to provide support to foster Families and to advocate on fostering issues. For nineteen years the Association worked on behalf of foster families to improve the foster care system in the province. In September 2000, the Department of Health and Community Services in partnership with the Board of Directors hired an external consultant to complete an evaluation of the Association.
In 2001, as a result of this evaluation government withdrew funding and the Association ceased operation. At the completion of the evaluation it was also recommended that a transition team be established to begin a process of rebuilding. This Transition Team was comprised of foster parents as well as representatives of the Department of Health and Community Services and the regional Health and Community Services/Integrated Boards. In February 2003, the Transition Team completed its work and a new Board of Directors assumed the leadership role.
* To advance and promote the professional role of foster parents.
* To provide a collective voice for Foster Families in Newfoundland and Labrador.
* To promote collaborative partnerships that strengthen policies, programs and services which enhance the care and support provided to children and families in a manner that is sensitive to their cultural and individual needs.
The Association has responsibilities in the areas of Education, Recruitment, Retention/Support and Advocacy and works with its community partners to meet these responsibilities.
Education: Education and training for foster parents is critical to ensure they are adequately prepared to meet the needs of children in care. Educating the community about the role of foster families is also included in this responsibility area.
Recruitment: There is a shortage of foster homes in most areas of the province. This means that children can not always be placed in their home communities and that there is often no opportunity to match children with homes that may best meet their needs. Research indicates that the best recruiters of new homes are current foster parents. The Association participates in recruitment initiatives and promotes a positive profile of foster care in the community.
Retention and Support: The key to retaining existing foster homes is to ensure foster parents feel supported and valued. It is necessary to continually work toward strengthening the foster care program in the province and to ensure the development of local foster family associations.
Advocacy: The Association advocates on issues that impact foster parents and the foster care system. It speaks as a collective voice for foster families throughout the province.
Values and Beliefs
All children must be recognized for their inherent worth and valued for who they are as much as who they will become. Children have a right to be raised in a safe, stable, nurturing environment that ensures their physical, emotional, spiritual and cultural health and well being. Families and communities have a shared responsibility in this regard. This responsibility is best achieved through collaborative efforts in accordance with the following values and beliefs: