Foster Care or Adoption

Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to find out more about foster care and adoption at Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS).

We are urgently in need of families to welcome children and teenagers into their homes.

There are many opportunities for people who want to become foster parents or adopt through our Agency.  We are looking for people from all walks of life to help us provide the families our kids need. There are many steps you need to take to join us – criminal record checks, home visits, training and more.  Please read more below, watch the videos and then contact us, we can answer your questions and help you start the process!

What is Foster Care?

Our Child Protection Workers primary focus is always to keep children in their own family homes and to provide supports within those homes to strengthen those families.  Sometimes, those supports are not enough to keep those children safe in their family home and children come to live in a temporary home, known as a Foster home.  We will try to find a way for them to return home or to live with extended family.  If those aren’t options, then we will find them an adoptive family.  Our goal is to give every child the permanency they deserve.

Your role as a foster parent is incredibly important to that child and to the Agency.  You and your family provide a sense of belonging and acceptance to that child, and you also work closely with our agency in terms of assessing the needs of that child and providing critical feedback to workers.  You are never alone in your foster parent journey, and have access to a team of professionals at the agency to assist and support you along the way.

When a child comes into care, the primary focus of the Agency is always to work towards re-unification of the child with their family.  The length of time that this takes varies greatly depending on each individual situation, and children could be in a foster home anywhere from a night or two and sometimes up to two years and rarely beyond.   In some occasions children are not able to return to their family of origin and we begin to explore other permanency options for that child and this is where Adoption may a viable option for that child.

Fostering isn’t easy. Patience, flexibility and time to commit to the children we place in your home are key attributes of successful foster parents.  The process of becoming a foster parent takes time and can be challenging.  Fostering isn’t for everyone.  We’re looking for some very special people.  But there’s no better way to help kids in need.

As a foster parent you will be provided with daily tax free per diem that provides for the needs of that child while they are living in your home.    There are many other supports available to you as well to help you care for a child placed in your home – let us tell you about them!

Process to Foster or Adopt

The children and youth we serve have diverse backgrounds, cultures, and needs.  To meet their needs in the best way possible we are seeking a diverse foster parent community who are committed to helping our children reach their potential and experience their maximum well being.

Fostering is hard work.  As a foster parent you will be required to participate in mandatory training and complete a variety of “checks” as part of the approval process.  We recognize that this can feel intrusive and demanding.  These processes are in place to ensure that you are prepared in the best possible way to care for a child placed in your home.  Your commitment will pay off and we will support you in this journey.

While some of our children have challenges, they are all resilient and bring many strengths and accomplishments with them.  We need families for teens who will need guidance and mentoring as they make a transition into adulthood.  We also need homes for children with a variety of special needs as well as families who are willing to provide permanency if we are not able to return a child to their home or find Kin/Kith who are able to provide permanency.

Regardless of whether you are interested in fostering or adoption, the process to get there is the same and involves two primary components, PRIDE and SAFE.

PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information Development and Education) is a parent education program that is provided at our Agency over the course of about three months. It involves nine sessions of three hours each, and if you are a couple applying to foster or adopt both of you would be required to attend SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) is the homestudy process you and your family will go through with an Assessor.

SAFE is a standardized home study used across North America and is meant to be a process of both education and evaluation. It begins with Information Gathering and in this stage you will be asked to provide documentation of your history with Child Welfare and/or Police; Medical History; Financial status; as well as we will ask for written references from people who know you well. The next stage involved several meetings with an assessor who will have discussions with you about your history and your desires for the future, your parenting style, your strengths and areas of growth, and your relationship history. Finally, the Compatibility Invent helps guide what profile of child would be best suited to your home and assists in future matching of a child into your home.

The best place way to start is to contact us! You will be able to speak to someone who can answer your questions and get you started on the process today. Please call us at 519-941-1530 or complete the online Inquiry form. We are waiting to talk to you!