Starting a BCFPA Branch
BC Foster Parents Association was created in 1967 at the request of foster parents and social workers. Our core purpose has remained the same all these years. Our purpose is to represent the best interests and best practices of all foster parents in the province. We do this by ensuring that we engage in meaningful discourse with foster parent communities, stakeholders, and the provincial government. Your voice is important and we encourage you to speak up!
BCFPA supports a number of branches across the province. Our branches are smaller community-level gatherings of foster parents who form a group that meets regularly.
As a group, you decide what your activities will be. Will you offer peer support to others in your community? Will you partner with a regional foster parent support agency to host the meetings? Is your local Ministry or Delegated Aboriginal Agency office willing to work in partnership with you? Will you host seasonal events, workshops, or have coffee socials? There are so many possibilities!
As a BCFPA branch, you will operate under BCFPA’s governance and policy documents, have a small leadership team and be in charge of your own activities.
Why start a branch?
Community is important for foster parents. Those who are more isolated usually don’t have all the information and support they need to do the best job they can. While BCFPA is always looking for ways to increase the accessibility of information, nothing beats a group of like-minded people who share similar experiences.
When foster parents come together in a branch, they are able to communicate to BCFPA’s provincial office the successes and issues experienced by their fostering community. This better informs us so that we are able to represent the interests and activities of your community in our discussions with the Ministry. It does sound like a lot of work—but it’s more fun than anything else. All you need for a successful branch is a few individuals to share the work of arranging a meeting, event or workshop. Once you’ve done it a few times, it’s easy! The benefits far outweigh the small amount of work that’s involved in maintaining a branch.
When should we start a branch?
You can start a branch when you have five BCFPA member foster parents interested in doing so. Any time of the year, any season, any day—we’ll be happy to help you along the way.
Some communities ask their regional foster parent support agency or their Ministry office to host a meeting with the community’s foster parents and discuss creating a BCFPA branch. Others have strong community connections already and call everyone together. Hosting a meeting is a great way to meet new people and find out who’s interested in working together to strengthen BC’s foster care system.
How do we go about organizing a Branch?
- Host a meeting for foster parents in your community.
- Make sure everyone has a BCFPA membership—take membership forms along.
- Discuss the benefits of being together on a regular basis to support each other.
- Identify who would be interested in leading the branch as a member of the leadership team. You’ll need a chair, vice-chair, financial coordinator and branch coordinator.
- Take notes of the meeting and hold an informal vote to decide who takes which position.
- Let the provincial BCFPA office know who the members of your leadership team are—along with contact information for each of you. We’ll send you a start up cheque for $200 as well as some documentation to help you along.
- Plan events and meetings that suit the desires and needs of your community and try to include as many foster parents as possible so your network grows.
How do we get funds to host our events?
The BCFPA membership fees for each foster parent in your community help to fund the activities of your branch. The provincial BCFPA office will send a quarterly cheque to you representing the fees that have been paid. It pays to recruit new members!
Your local Ministry office or support agency may be willing to assist your Branch by providing meeting space or financial sponsorship.
BCFPA branches can hold fundraisers or solicit donations from community services and vendors to support events and activities for foster parents and their families.
Branches can initiate partnership meetings between agencies, Ministry and foster parents to discuss successes, issues and common initiatives.
EMERGENCY AFTER HOURS
Foster parents are encouraged to call this number in the event of an EMERGENCY or CRISIS occurring after regular office hours:
REPORT CHILD ABUSE
If you think a child or youth under 19 years of age is being abused or neglected, you have the legal duty to report your concern to a child welfare worker. Phone 1 800 663-9122 at any time of the day or night. Visit the Government of BC website for more info.
BCFPA Provincial Office
Suite 208 - 20641 Logan Avenue
Langley, BC V3A 7R3
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Our work takes place on the traditional and unceded Coast Salish territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Matsqui and Semiahmoo First Nations. BCFPA is committed to reconciliation with all Indigenous communities, and creating a space where we listen, learn and grow together.
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