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Being a foster parent is not easy, but it is rewarding. It is important to know that you have support when you are struggling. If you have questions about policy, case planning, or need support with investigations, appeals/conflict resolution or quality of care, know that you are not alone. An Advocate from the Saskatchewan Foster Families Association (SFFA) is available to offer information and support.
As a foster parent, it is important that you know and understand your role in the lives of the child(ren) in your care. Timely case planning must occur and includes parents, children, extended family and caregivers in meeting the child’s needs and moves towards a permanency plan, which recognizes the critical years of growth and development for a child. The child(ren), parents and provider should know as soon as possible how often and when family contact will occur (phone calls, letters, supervised or unsupervised visitation). Case plans for children in out-of-home care are made in consultation with all those involved in the case, but must include at least the family, child and caregiver to be effective.
Throughout your role as a foster parent, conflict may arise with Ministry employees, and every effort shall be made to resolve the issue in a mutually satisfactory manner, in accordance with the procedures. When there are disagreements between the foster parents and the Ministry, foster parents are entitled to “due process” which means that they must be given a clear statement of the Ministry’s decisions, an opportunity to respond, an assurance that their response will be given objective and fair consideration, and a clear statement of the final decision. This can be an overwhelming time for foster parents, and the Advocates at the SFFA are here to support you and to clarify policies or information that may come into question.
If you ever become a subject of an investigation, it is imperative that you feel supported and heard during the process. Foster parents must be afforded fairness and due process at all stages of an investigation. This includes a clear statement of any concerns by the Ministry, an opportunity to respond to the concerns, objective consideration of their responses, and access to appeal/conflict resolution. At this time, due to the potential conflict of interest for Ministry workers, an Advocate from the Saskatchewan Foster Families Association is available to offer information and support throughout the investigation process, unless you choose not to have their involvement.
If you should disagree with the Ministry’s decision to close your foster home, you may appeal the decision by accessing the Ministry’s formal appeal process. When a foster home is closed as a result of a Ministry decision (following a foster home investigation or formal review), you must be advised of your right to formally appeal the closure decision and the process for doing so. The SFFA understands that the appeal process can be a difficult time for foster families and can be a resource of information while offering support throughout the process.
When it comes to damage to your home or items within your home by a child in your care and in the event that the damage is not covered by personal home insurance or the SFFA liability insurance rider, foster families may seek compensation from the Ministry of Social Services. The foster parent(s) should notify the SFFA of any damage or loss caused by a foster child or children in their care. The SFFA will arrange for an Independent Damage Assessor to carry out an assessment of the loss or damage.
Contacting an Advocate
To contact one of our advocates, simply pick up the phone and dial our main office at 1 (888) 276-2880.