OACAS launches campaign to recruit foster caregivers

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) released its ‘There to Care’ campaign amidst a steady decline in foster care placement availability.

OACAS said the need for foster caregivers is greater than ever and this initiative aims to underscore the vital role of foster caregivers, emphasizing their profound impact on children, youth, families, and communities. By dispelling misconceptions and rallying community support, the campaign seeks to address the critical shortage of foster homes across Ontario.

Child welfare agencies are responsible for finding temporary homes for children and youth when they cannot stay with their primary caregivers.

“With a staggering 33.6 per cent decrease in available foster homes since 2020, the safety and well-being of children, youth, and families is at risk. The demand for these compassionate individuals and families has never been higher,” said a June 5 release.

Foster caregivers also provide essential support in maintaining connections with extended family and community members for children and youth while they are in care. In Ontario, finding suitable placements that match the unique identities and needs of children and youth is paramount. Child welfare agencies strive to match foster caregivers based on their experience and the needs and identities, including the cultural background, of the children and youth. There is an urgent need for placements supporting sibling groups, older children and youth, infants, and those with complex needs.

“Fostering is about more than the children and youth you provide a temporary home to. It’s also about facilitating connections and reunification with families and communities, and ensuring children and youth stay connected to their culture and identity. It’s about providing real, tangible support to your community,” said Interim OACAS CEO Solomon Owoo.

OACAS is a provincial membership organization representing 47 of Ontario’s 50 mandated children’s aid societies and Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agencies, as well as two pre-mandated Indigenous Child and Family Well-Being Agencies.

Child welfare agencies have a legal mandate to keep children and youth safe from abuse and neglect. Their goal is to keep children and youth at home and in their communities by connecting families with culturally relevant resources, supports, and networks that strengthen their family unit.

To learn more about how you can help, please visit theretocare.ca.

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