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  • What are the requirements to become a Foster Parent?
    ◆ Be a permanent resident of Canada or Canadian citizen ◆ Room(s) available for Foster Child(ren)/Youth ◆ Criminal Record Check with Vulnerable Sector Check (adults over 18 living in home) ◆ Child Welfare Record Check (adults over 18 living in home) ◆ G Class driver's license ◆ Vehicle with proof of insurance ◆ Cell phone ◆ Computer/Laptop with internet access ◆ Flexibility in your daily routine
  • Will I get paid to be a Foster Parent?
    Foster parents are not “paid” in the traditional use of the word. You will receive a non-taxable per diem for each day that a child is placed in your home. This daily Home Care Service (HCS) allowance covers the child's living expenses. The dollar amount varies depending on their program, which is determined by their level of needs. In addition, there are clothing allowances, mileage reimbursements, paid respite care, summer camp budgets, shared recreation costs, and additional supports. Other reimbursements for exceptional expenses are discussed on a case-by-case basis. The HCS allowance and any applicable reimbursements are paid once per month by direct deposit.
  • Do I need to be home full time? Can I work full time and foster?
    To meet the responsibilities of fostering, working full time outside of the home is not viable. Working part-time, if flexibility exists, is an option that can be discussed. However, it is best practice for one Foster Parent to be home full time.
  • Do I have to own my home? Can I live in an apartment/condo?
    To be a Foster Parent, you can own or rent a house, townhouse, condominium, or apartment.
  • How many children can I foster?
    The maximum number of children that can be placed in a home is 4. This limit is set by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS). The maximum for you specifically may depend on other factors, including your home, the number of available bedrooms, your family composition, and your skillset and experience.
  • Does a Foster Child/Youth need their own room, or can they share a room?
    When discussing shared bedrooms, a Foster Child/Youth’s age, gender, special needs, background, and experiences have to be taken into account. Foster homes who are applying must have at least 1 bedroom designated for Foster Children. Some homes have 1, 2, and 3 bedrooms available for Foster Children. If you have only 1 bedroom available (with 1 or 2 beds in the bedroom), this is feasible.
  • How long does it take from the time I apply to the time I can accept a Foster Child into my home?
    2-4 months is an average timeframe. This is an assessment process involving the opportunity to build relationships between yourself, your family, and your Bridgeway Assessor. The time varies on how long it takes to complete the required documentation questionnaires, the background checks, the home tour, the housing and safety standard checklist, and all pre-service training requirements.
  • What information will I know about a child before they come to my home?
    It is vital that you have as much information as possible about the child/youth who needs a foster home. When you receive a call from the Placement Coordinator, you can be assured that what we know, you will know. We will have information about why the child/youth came into foster care (i.e. why they needed to be brought to a place of safety), their health status, their family composition, and their social, emotional, behavioural and educational needs. We will also share about any diagnoses or mental health challenges if known. If applicable, we will share information about previous foster homes that the child/youth has been in. There are times when we have little to no information other than gender and ages of the children/youth.
  • How much time do I have to decide whether to accept the Foster Child/Youth?
    We respect your autonomy to make the decision to accept or decline a Foster Child/Youth based on the right fit for your family. Our Placement Coordinator provides you with all information made available to us by the placing agency. Depending on each case, you may have a few minutes or hours to decide. Sometimes a placement can be planned over several weeks or months.
  • Can I meet the Foster Child/Youth before I agree to accept them?
    Whenever it is possible, our Placement Coordinator will plan a "meet and greet" opportunity which can also be called a "pre-placement visit". This can only happen when the child/youth does not require a Foster Home placement immediately or within a few days. Often, our Foster Parents are called to make the decision to accept a child based on all the information shared on the referral call with our Placement Coordinator.
  • What support will I have as a Foster Parent?
    Bridgeway offers comprehensive and customizable supports to our Foster Parents. Each Foster Home has a Foster Home Supervisor (FHS) who shares this journey with you and is on call 24/7 to respond to urgencies. Your FHS is your partner and the one who helps guide, mentor, and support you each day. Based on the special needs and age of the child/youth in your care, other supports may include: ◆ Contracted therapeutic support, including Family Support Associates, Academic Coaches, and Access Facilitators ◆ Clinical support and counselling for the Foster Children/Youth and Foster Parents/Family ◆ Transportation service available to assist Foster Parents with drives to access visits ◆ Summer camp programming (includes a camp travel allowance for the family to ease the burden of bus costs and drives) ◆ Additional child-specific services as required, such as daycare and therapies There may also be times when you need (and are encouraged) to take a break. Foster Parents receive a respite allotment per child per year. Typically, this equates to 2 weekends (4 days/nights) per month. This allotment can be utilized in any combination during the daytime or overnight. The days/nights can also be saved up to be used later in the year (e.g. for an extended vacation).
  • Will I receive any training before I become a Foster Parent?
    Before you take Foster Children/Youth into your home, we want to equip you by strengthening your understanding and building your confidence. Several pre-service trainings will be provided to you, including the ministry-required Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (PRIDE) training. We also encourage you to first provide respite care for another Bridgeway Foster Parent before becoming a full-time Foster Parent yourself. Once you become a full-time Foster Parent, we continue to support you throughout your fostering journey. You will receive: ◆ Regular check-ins from your Foster Home Supervisor ◆ Regularly scheduled in-service trainings ◆ Ongoing, as-needed training and coaching based on your Individual Learning Plan (ILP) ◆ Access to self-identified, additional courses and webinars as requested Currently, many trainings are virtual to best meet the needs of our parents. When in-person training is a necessity (e.g. First Aid & CPR), we provide multiple trainings to accommodate Foster Parents who live in different regions. LEARN MORE ABOUT TRAINING
  • How long will the child/youth stay with me? Is adoption an option?
    The length of time that a child/youth is in Bridgeway's care can range from a few days to many years. This may depend on what (if anything) is known about the child(ren)/family. Known information is shared with you during the pre-placement conversations you will have with the Placement Coordinator. No matter the situation, the goal of Children's Aid Societies and the family court system is to provide stability and permanency. If reunification with their natural family or kinship care is not possible, adoption may be an option. It is always a joy when a child/youth finds their "forever family". To date, we have had 193 adoptions by Bridgeway families!
  • We like to take family trips. If I go on vacation with my family to another country, can I bring my Foster Child/Youth?
    With advance planning and approval from the CAS agency (legal guardian), it is possible to have your Foster Child/Youth go on family vacations.
  • How do I start the process of becoming a Foster Parent?
    Visit our Become a Foster Parent page for more information about next steps and what it means to foster. When you're ready, take a few minutes to complete our online Information Form and tell us about yourself. Our Foster Home Application Assessor will connect with you.
  • What is required to be a Support Professional?
    BACKGROUND CHECKS ◆ Criminal Record Check with a Vulnerable Sector Check ◆ Child Welfare Record Check from your local Children’s Aid Society ◆ 3-Year driver’s abstract showing G Class driver's license EDUCATION/CERTIFICATIONS ◆ Certificate, diploma, or degree in a social service field (i.e. Child and Youth Care) from a recognized college or university ◆ Standard First Aid with Infant/Child CPR (Level C) ◆ Verbal De-escalation Training (e.g. UMAB) EQUIPMENT ◆ Vehicle insured with minimum $2 million liability ◆ Computer/Laptop ◆ Personal email address due to confidentiality
  • Do I need college or university education to be a Support Professional?
    Yes, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) requires Support Professionals to have a certificate, diploma, or degree in a social service field (i.e. Child and Youth Care) from a recognized college or university.
  • What ongoing trainings or certifications do I need to be a Support Professional?
    All Support Professionals are required to have current certifications in: ◆ Standard First Aid with Infant/Child CPR (Level C) ◆ Verbal De-escalation Training (e.g. UMAB) Bridgeway may provide opportunities for you to attend these trainings and other topics such as trauma-informed care and FASD. Other optional trainings and certifications that are beneficial include ODD, autism, ADHD, and anxiety disorders.
  • Do I need a vehicle?
    Yes, all Support Professionals require access to a fully insured vehicle and a full "G" Class license. A driver's abstract must also be provided.
  • Do I need to transport clients in my vehicle?
    Yes, you will need to transport clients in your vehicle as many services occur in the community.
  • What days/times are services typically provided?
    Most services are provided after school (3:00pm-9:00pm) from Monday to Friday. Some services may be required on the weekends and occasionally during daytime hours on weekdays.
  • Where are services provided?
    The location depends on each assignment. Typically, services occur in the community and/or caregiver's home.
  • Will I receive instruction on what to do during my support sessions?
    For each assignment, there are goals to be worked on while providing services. A Service Plan is emailed to all parties outlining the goals. Bridgeway does not instruct specifically how these goals are to be worked towards or achieved. We rely on the education, expertise, and creativity of our Support Professionals to plan the appropriate goal-focused activities that are best suited to each Foster Child/Youth.
  • Will I be reimbursed for expenses and mileage?
    Yes, Support Professionals incur expenses while providing services as well as mileage costs. A Service Plan is emailed outlining the schedule as well as maximum monthly expenses and kilometers while providing services. Support Professionals invoice Bridgeway and are reimbursed monthly for their labour, mileage, and expense costs.
  • As a Support Professional, am I an employee of Bridgeway?
    All Support Professionals are independent contractors and are not employees of Bridgeway. Since you are an independent contractor, you will not be eligible for the following from Bridgeway: ◆ Health benefits ◆ Vacation/Holiday pay ◆ Overtime ◆ T4 slip outlining income, CPP and EI
  • How do I become a Support Professional?
    Visit our Provide Professional Support page for information about the benefits of providing support and pre-service requirements. You're welcome to browse our current job postings or apply directly through our website. You'll receive a response from one of our Services Coordinators.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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