LETTER: Foster parents need adequate pay and support

I have been a foster parent for 17 years and about 112 children have come through my household

I read with great interest the article that was written in the Abbotsford News on Sept. 21 (regarding a rally involving foster parents and youth in care).

I have been a foster parent for 17 years and about 112 children have come through my household.

I spent most of my life dealing with and raising children. I feel this type of experience gives me very good insight into the current foster system.

I have dealt with countless social workers and resource workers who are over worked and understaffed and in many cases have a caseload of 30 or more families that they visit  monthly.

They are unavailable to answer calls and settle issues in a timely fashion because of their heavy caseload.

There is a leveling system in place that determines the rate of pay that foster parents receive per child.

I have been a level 1 caregiver for 17 years and have had children that have come from level 2 or 3 homes.

I have made inquiries into getting my level increased but that has not happened yet.

How is this a fair system?

I also have issues with the $100 increase for children after age 12. All of their expenses such as the cost of food, clothing, school supplies and toiletries become more expensive and, even with shopping for bargains, this amount is not very adequate in 2016.

Children who are in foster care do not choose to be in the foster system, but due to family situations, they are placed there.

They need caring families who feel valued and are paid adequately for an invaluable service that they do, adequate amount of staff to deal with the serious situations that arise, and ongoing government support that recognizes that the fostering system needs to be overhauled and changed so the caregivers and the children in care can live a balanced lifestyle that is beneficial to everyone.

M. Wise