Are you looking to foster a child but aren’t sure how to go about doing so?
The Children’s Aid Society of Algoma wants to help with that.
They held their third information session for people interested in fostering children on Tuesday afternoon at their Northern Ave. location.
“Our current foster care system is full, so we’re always looking and recruiting new foster parents,” Melissa Gioia, Foster Care Coordinator for CAS Algoma, told SaultOnline.
“This information session was just to provide people that may be interested or have been thinking about being foster parents to provide them with the information, what the process will look like, what happens after your home is approved, and what that’s going to entail and what that’s going to look like as you enter your role as a foster parent.”
Gioia said they’re looking for people who are willing to provide a safe, loving, nurturing home environment to children, whether it be on a longer-term basis, or just for a short time.
“We’re looking for people to just provide homes for children,” she said.
She said holding these sessions is important to help people understand the ins and outs of foster parenting.
“I think people can be intimidated by fostering,” she explained. “I think it’s important for them to know what it’s about.”
Deanne Morley has been a foster parent for over 30 years, 16 of them for CAS of Algoma. She attended Tuesday’s information session as a guest speaker so people in attendance could get a sense of what it’s like to be a foster parent and ask questions to a person in that position.
“A lot of people are misinformed about what CAS is all about and what fostering is all about and they don’t think they can do it,” she told SaultOnline.
She said her experiences as a child are what drew her to become a foster parent.
“All children really want is love and they want someone to care about them,” she said. “They want to be a part of a family and to me that is important. I just think that just one person can make such a difference in a child’s life.
“And I would like to save all the children if I could, but the ones that come to me, I try my best to do the best that I can for them while they’re in my care,” she continued.
Morley said although sometimes it’s a struggle, being a foster parent can also be very rewarding.
“It’s a great reward when you see them meet their milestones. It makes you very proud when you see how well they’ve turned out and to see the joy on their face, their smiles, their giggles,” she explained. “There’s nothing I like better than the laughter of children. You know that they’re happy then. It’s just such a reward to know that you’ve made a difference in a child’s life.”
She recounted a time when she spent an afternoon teaching one of her foster children how to ride a bike and how rewarding it felt when he achieved his goal.
“That night I hear him – I’m out on the deck and he comes around the corner of the garage saying, ‘I’m the king of the castle! I can ride my bike!’ and I thought at that moment, if that child leaves here today, I’ve at least taught him how to ride a bike, I have taught him something, he will go away with something,” she said.
Her advice to anyone interested in becoming a foster parent? Come on board.
“You will have a lifetime full of memories, of joy, and you will give the opportunity to a child that they may never ever have,” she said. “It doesn’t take much, you just have to love them and take care of them.”
Tuesday evening’s 6 p.m. session has been postponed due to inclimate weather.
The next scheduled sessions will take place May 6 at noon and 6:30p.m.
For more information, you can reach the CAS at 705-949-0162 or by visiting their website here.