Mary McNeil: Foster families open their hearts and homes

Foster Family Month in B.C.

  • Oct. 7, 2011 6:00 a.m.

October marks the 21st year of celebrating Foster Family Month in British Columbia, an important chance to honour the incredible work of  foster families across the province.

Every child and teen is unique and everyone needs, and deserves, a safe and welcoming home. Foster families take on one of society’s most important jobs — caring for children and youth at a time when they need it the most.

To all the foster parents and families in B.C., I want to extend our profound thanks. Your love and care give children and youth in difficult situations the support they need to develop into strong, confident adults.

Every day across British Columbia, around 3,300 foster families open  their hearts and their homes to about 5,900 vulnerable children and youth. However, B.C., like so many other jurisdictions in the world, always needs more foster families of all cultural, social and ethnic  backgrounds. Anyone 19 years or older can make the decision to open their home to a child or youth in need of care. The most important qualifications for a foster parent are a strong desire to make a positive difference in a child’s life, and a commitment to provide a safe, nurturing, stable home for children when they are not able to live  with their family. I encourage anyone interested in becoming a foster  parent to call the Foster Line at 1-800-663-9999.

I am grateful for the important work undertaken by foster families and agencies such as the B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations and the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents that support them. I hope you will join me in celebrating foster families now and throughout the year.

Mary McNeil is B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development.