Foster Parents, BCFFPA and MCFD in Partnership
Roles and Responsibilities
The Federation and Local Foster Parent Associations
- Foster Parents Provide for the physical, emotional and social needs of children placed in care.
- BCFFPA’s Local Associations are made up of foster parent members in a community. Each Local Association has elected officers (a Board of Directors), holds regular meetings and, depending on the region, sends representatives to Macro council meetings. The role of the Local is to strengthen the foster care program by receiving direct input from individual foster parents in all parts of BC and to provide peer support to foster parents.
- The Provincial Board of Directors is the general governing body, legally charged with the direct control and operation of the Federation. The Board is responsible for development and implementation of policies, programs and practices of the Federation. The Local Associations follow all the governing documents of the BCFFPA.
Ministry of Children and Family Development
- Social Workers hold the formal responsibility (delegated by the Director) for the provision of all necessary services to the child and birth family.
- The Team Leader is responsible for ensuring that the intent of the legislation, regulations and policy are carried out in practice. Duties include office management, case consultations and participation in integrated service planning.
- Managers are responsible in a specific geographic area for planning, organizing and monitoring of service delivery; development, allocation and monitoring of budget; recruitment, and training of staff.
- Executive Directors of Service ensure the requirements of policy and legislation are implemented in a particular geographic area.
- The Provincial Director of Child Protection is responsible for the administration of the Child, Family and Community Services Act and has the authority to enter into voluntarily custody agreements with families, or to apprehend a child who is in need of protection. The authority of the Director is delegated to protection social workers.
- The Deputy Minister of Children and Family Development, at the direction of the Minister and in consultation with Ministry employees, is responsible for the ongoing initiatives and direction of the Ministry’s operations.
- The Minister of Children and Family Development is an elected member of the legislative assembly and is responsible for all Ministry functions.
The Federation Office
The Federation office employs 2 full time and 1 part time staff member; the Executive Director, Community Network & Membership Services Coordinator and the Membership Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator. The Federation staff is responsible for providing information and assistance to its members and the general public in all matters relating to foster care. The Federation office, located in New Westminster, is open Monday to Friday between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:00 PM.
Some of our activities include
- Distributing a complete range of foster care information such as foster care material and the BCFFPA FosterlineBC
- Providing information to prospective foster parents
Managing the insurance rider providing coverage for losses incurred by foster parents
- Answering questions from foster parents, social workers and the public on policy pertaining to foster care
- Promoting and encouraging the establishment and growth of Local Associations and Macro councils
- Providing a supportive network and open channel of communication for foster parents
- Organizing and sponsoring various training opportunities
- Coordinating a foster parent peer support network of supporters and advocates
- Sponsoring the Camps for Kids Program
- Providing Bursaries to foster children and birth and adopted children of Foster Parent members
- Support to the Board of Directors
The BCFFPA restructured and downsized in 2003 with the Ministry’s move to a regional governance model, wherein some of the services to foster parents transferred from Foster Parents BC to regional contracted for profit and not for profit agencies. The Federation still continues to facilitate contact with foster parents throughout the Province by acting as a clearinghouse of information. We continue to meet the critical demand for BCFFPA-style support and advocacy.
Today, the Federation includes foster parent representation from all regions in BC. Approximately 25 Local Associations and Macro councils continue to play a key role in maintaining an extensive network of support to foster parents. All positions on Local Associations and councils are voluntary and are elected by foster parent members.
Foster Parents BC maintains active links with the Ministry and assists in the development and policy and practice around foster care. A h2 partnership between foster parents and social workers is seen as the basis of quality planning and care of children in need.
History and Background
The BCFFPA was formed in 1967 to be a support and service organization for foster parents, Ministry staff and others with an interest in the foster care system. Foster Parents BC is a registered non-profit society.
Since 1967 the Federation has been involved in the revision of policies and practices relating to foster care. Accomplishments of our work with the ministry include:
- Presentation of numerous briefs over the years on topics such as legislation relating to foster care; concerns of foster parents, payment rates, taxation, contracts, and treatment of foster parents
- Provision of a Foster Parent Insurance Rider for Extended Property Damages (1984) for all Foster Parents
- Participation in the development of the Family Care Home Model and the Levels of Care program (1990-95)
- Participation in the development of Family Care Home Standards (implemented 1998) and Caregiver Support Service Standards (2005)
- Assistance with the revised policy handbook for foster parents: Foster Family Handbook (1997)
- Joint development of an Orientation Manual for foster parent orientation
- Joint development of the Protocol for investigation of Allegations of Abuse in foster homes (revised 1998)
- Joint development of policy and procedures for “Resolving Difficulties between Foster Parents and Ministry Staff” (revised 1998)
- Co-host of the International Foster Care Organization Conference with the Ministry and Canadian Foster Families Association attended by 825 participants (1997)
- Joint development of Fostercare 2000, an overall plan for the improvement of foster care in BC (1997)
Support for Foster Parents
A primary concern for foster parents is reducing risks to foster families, including prevention of false allegations.
- Development of a safeguarding pamphlet for foster parents
- Completion of “Coping with Violence” a video for foster parents and BCFFPA staff (1997)
- Joint committee work with the Ministry to revise the Protocol for Investigation Allegations of Abuse
- Joint committee with the Ministry to determine the feasibility of a third party review for foster home closures and decisions to move a child who has lived in the home for more than 6 months
- Joint committee work with the Ministry to revise the policy and procedures for resolving issues between foster parents and Ministry staff
- Joint Committee work with the Ministry in development of a 24-hour provincial after-hours support line for all foster parents
Foster parents face more challenges today than ever before. In keeping with the gradual professionalization of foster care, foster parents have an interest in ensuring that their knowledge and skills are current and continue to grow to meet the complex needs of children.
The Education Committee, was previously a standing committee of the Board. Committee members collaborated with the Ministry to develop Provincial training for foster parents. Assistance and guidance was provided by the Educational Consultant to the Federation.
Foster Parents BC believes that:
- Every foster parent is entitled to foster care education.
- Foster care education is necessary for foster parents and social workers.
- Beyond the provision of core training for foster parents, local communities and regions can best identify local foster parent needs and interests.
The BCFFPA offers a process for problem solving to fostering communities in BC. The process works towards enhancing cooperative relationships. Foster parent groups may invite Ministry staff, other agencies and community groups to discussions addressing local issues related to fostering.
- Issues Identification
On invitation, BCFFPA Executive and staff meet with groups in the community where concerns have been expressed to begin to define the issues
- Education & Problem-Solving
BCFFPA Executive and staff facilitate joint discussions where participants learn a process for conflict resolution and are introduced to communication skills for problem-solving
- A Plan For Action
Through facilitation, participants develop an action plan that addresses the issues to the satisfaction of those present. Solutions come from the group.
Status of Fostering
The Status Committee was struck in 1985 in recognition of the evolution towards a professionalized foster care system. Activities have included:
- Development of the BCFFPA Code of Ethics and Practice Standards (currently under revision)
- Joint work with the Ministry on the Guidelines for Foster Homes
- Continued work on the status of the BCFFPA as the official voice of fostering in BC