FOSTER PARENT BILL OF RIGHTS – Draft 2013

Foster Parents Society Of Ontario

 (FPSO provincial Initiative)

 Foster Parent Bill of Rights

 Draft 2013

Foundational Statements:

For the purposes of this document “Foster Families” will be defined as by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.  “foster care” means the provision of residential care to a child, by and in the home of a person who,

(a) receives compensation for caring for the child, except under the Ontario Works Act, 1997, the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997 or the Family Benefits Act

(b) is not the child’s parent or a person with whom the child has been placed for adoption under Part VII,  “foster home” and “foster parent” have corresponding meanings

  • This document is to honour the Foster Parent’s role in providing a safe and nurturing environment for children in care.
  •  Foster Parents are integral to the development and wellbeing of the children placed in their homes.
  • Foster Parents are vital members of the Professional Team, not only parenting the child to be a valuable member of society, but also supporting the goal of permanency.
  • Children in care are afforded both rights and responsibilities; this is paramount to their safety and value. However, respect for the Foster Parents rights and responsibilities are equally vital to the successful functioning of the home.
  • Mutual respect and appreciation of each member of the professional team is what will bring value to the team (definition of team, Together Encompassing All Members)

RIGHTS:

All Foster Parents Shall have the right to:

Team Member 

  • Be respected as a member of the professional team with clearly defined roles in the provision of care, as well as, a collaborative working relationship with the agency and its staff.
  • Have their wishes taken into account especially considering Crown Wards that they have had in their homes for over two years. (CFSA, section 61 (5))
  • Be recognized by staff for your knowledge, skills and contributions as a care provider.
  • Access the policies and procedures developed and implemented by the agency.
  • Request and receive the status of their foster home at any time.
  • Receive verbal discussion from the agency concerning any critical information to be recorded in their file.
  • Have regular contact with their resource worker.
  • Pre-service and in-service training that is formally planned, organized and delivered.
  • Have a decision of the local CAS reviewed (appealed).
  • Voice a formal complaint concerning the services received without fear of reprisal.
  •  A formal response within 24 hours.
  • Have any meetings scheduled encompassing the foster parents schedule.
  • Have timely notification of all meetings.
  • To be notified as soon as possible regarding the cancellation or rescheduling of a meeting.

 

All Foster Parents Shall have the right to:  

 Documentation

  • A copy of a foster parent hand book.
  • Access to their own foster parent file.(CFSA Section 61)
  • Copies of their annual reviews.
  • A copy of the request for placement document.
  • Copies of plans of care for each child placed in their home.
  • Copies of all assessments regarding the child, including medical, and psychological.
  • Copies of service agreements for their home.
  • A foster parent identification card.
  • Correction of any inaccuracies in any of the above documents.

 All Foster Parents Shall have the right to:  

  School

  • Participate in IEP, IPRC and other school related educational meetings for each child placed in their home.
  • Agency support for a foster child under suspension or expulsion.

All Foster Parents Shall have the right to:  

 Working with the child

  • Refuse a placement not deemed suitable without recrimination.
  • Have a child removed at any time with appropriate justification and within reasonable time.
  • Establish reasonable guidelines regarding the age, gender, and behaviors of a foster child placed in their home.
  • Consideration as the first choice for placement when a former foster child returns to care.
  • Consideration as the first choice for placement when an existing foster child resides within the foster home, and a sibling comes into care.
  • Maintain the day-to-day management of their homes, in areas of boundaries, house rules, and structure subject to the policies of the agency and the Child and Family Services Act. (All foster homes have common law and statutory property rights to manage their residences as they see fit)
  • Complete disclosure, and documentation of, the child’s history including psychological, medical, social history, emotional, behavioral, educational, and physical prior to and throughout placement.
  • Participate in the planning, development and assessment reviews and action plans for each child in their home.
  • Participate in “placement disruption” meetings.
  • Ensure adequate Medical and/ or clinical referrals for a foster child within a reasonable time frame by the agency.
  • Request pre-placement visits prior to a child’s arrival; may include multiple visits and/ or overnight stay.
  • Provide input concerning visitation schedules and concerns.
  • Communicate directly with clinical professionals who work with the children, such as counselors and therapists.

*** Note…In section 77. 1 b, the CFSA says the Executive Director may transfer a child from one placement to another and in making that decision, the Director must take the views of foster parents into account.

***Note…Section 61(5) of the CFSA which says the wishes of the foster parent are to be taken into account in the CAS’s major decisions concerning the child, However, this only applies to a crown wards that have been in the foster home for over two years.

All Foster Parents Shall have the right to:  

The future of the child

  • To request financial support to ensure successful adoption of a foster child living in the home, if and when, adoption is deemed the most suitable option for the child.
  • Be considered as adoptive parents or legal custodians for a foster child who is, or has been, in their care.
  • Ten day notice of a child being removed from their foster home if a foster child is Crown Ward and has lived in the foster home for over two years. (CFSA 61(7))
  • If the decision to remove the child is not agreeable to the foster parent they can have the decision reviewed CFSA 61(7.1)
  • Receive notice before court proceedings, be represented by a solicitor and have the opportunity to make a submission to the court if a child has been in their home for more than six months.(CFSA 39(3)). ***Note…The cost of the solicitor would be that of the foster parent.

All Foster Parents Shall have the right to:  

The fostering family

  • Written notification if the agency chooses to close their home.
  • Due respect for the continuation and maintenance of their own families.
  • Protection of their identity and/ or confidential family information withheld from the foster child’s biological family as required.
  • Be free of mistreatment or abuse from the child, the biological family, adoptive family, out-of-care kinship family, agency personnel, or any support/professional service providers. (All foster parents have this right as Canadian citizens)
  •  Identify designated areas in their home as family use that include foster children and private use that exclude children; example, home office, bedroom spaces, sauna’s, storage areas (All foster parents have charter rights and statutory rights to manage their residence as they see fit, subject to the policies of the CAS)
  • Their personal lives and family affairs respected and held as confidential.
  • Have biological and adopted children be granted the same level of rights the foster children in their home.
  • The continuation of their own family values and beliefs, while also honoring the values and beliefs of the foster child.(Foster Parents like everyone else have human rights and charter rights protecting their right to hold whatever values and beliefs that they like.)
  • Adequate support to ensure the safety of foster parents and their families when dealing with a child with at risk behaviours.
  • Have unverified investigations, and all documentation pertaining to those investigations, expunged from their foster home files held by the local CAS after a period of five years.

All Foster Parents Shall have the right to:  

Equipment  

  • Car seats provided by the agency for all children requiring them.
  • Replacement of expired home equipment (ie. Cribs, bicycle helmets, life jackets)
  • The agency replacing household items damaged by children placed in their home.

All Foster Parents Shall have the right to: 

Compensation

  • Be fairly compensated for travel/transportation of a child within reasonable distances.
  • Be compensated by the agency in a timely and fair manner for child related damages.
  • Timely compensation and reimbursement of cost for the care provided to a child placed in their homes.

All Foster Parents Shall have the right to:  

Supports

  • Advocate for another foster family without fearing incrimination.
  • Support from a Foster Parent Association representative.
  • Call upon an advocate/communicator/FPA Rep.
  • Emergency relief, as well as, planned relief/respite from fostering.
  • Receive services, competency training and/ or other learning opportunities from the agency to enhance their growth and development as foster parents.
  • Become a member Foster Parent Association/Foster Family Association and the Foster Parent Society of Ontario
  • Be supported by the CAS to chose to be a member of the United Foster Parents Corporation of Canada (formerly known and the Legal Defense Fund).