Foster parents are needed in the North Okanagan

Okanagan Foster Parents Association (OFPA) is hosting monthly information sessions in Vernon.

Yvonne Langlois presents a token of appreciation for many years of service to foster parent Pat Hudson

Yvonne Langlois presents a token of appreciation for many years of service to foster parent Pat Hudson

New foster homes are needed in the North Okanagan, so Okanagan Foster Parents Association (OFPA) is hosting monthly information sessions in Vernon. Adults who want to make a difference in the lives of children and families are invited to attend.

“Most foster parents are ordinary people who care about children and youth,” says Noelle Typusiak, foster parent coordinator in the Vernon area. “They come to fostering with a desire to help, and then develop skills to meet the children’s needs.”

OFPA and the Ministry of Children and Family Development work together to provide foster families with training, support, and reimbursement.

Some children have medical or behavioral needs that require experienced caregivers, so there is also a need for people who come to fostering with specialized skills.

“Young adults, with training related to children, become excellent foster parents, said Typusiak. “Those who retire from jobs in education, child care, or the medical field, also find fostering is a good way to use their experience in a way that meets their new life style.”

There are about 130 children and youth in foster care in the Vernon area, which includes, Armstrong, Falkland, and Lumby. Children come into foster care for many different reasons, but all need a safe, loving home. Most children stay only for a short time, while others may stay for years, or move on to adoption. Some children need respite care: a surrogate aunt or uncle who will care for them for a weekend or two every month.

Foster parents are needed in all areas, both rural and urban. They can be any age; be single or married; have their own children, have no children, or have grown children.

Foster parents care for children of all ages, from birth to 18. There is need for foster parents who will care for one child, as well as for foster parents who have room for family groups of three or more.

An information session will be held Sept. 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Gathering Place, #300, 3100–30th Ave.

Those who attend will be invited to attend pre-service orientation for foster parents at the end of September. For six evenings, participants will learn how to meet the needs of children who come into foster care and how the foster care system works. When these classes are completed they may apply to become foster parents.

If you have questions, contact Okanagan Foster Parents Association at 250-558-0939 noksupport@okfosterparents.ca