LETTER: Service that foster parents provide is invaluable

Today I read the article 'These kids need a voice' (The News, Sept. 21) ...

Today I read the article “These kids need a voice” (The News, Sept. 21) and, as a result, have hope for good changes to our foster care system. Foster parents offer a safe home and 24/7 care to children coming out of trauma. As such, the service foster parents provide to children and to the larger society is invaluable.

I was pleased to see former children in care note the difference between excellent and poor foster homes and, in effect, call for excellent foster homes for all children who can no longer live with their families.

I was impressed with the logic presented by the foster parents and their appeal to move fostering from a primarily volunteer model to one in which they receive due recognition through reasonable and fair wages and benefits. I think most of the public would find it entirely fair for foster parents to be paid a reasonable wage for the care given  to our most vulnerable children.

Social workers in the Fraser River branch of the British Columbia Association of Social Workers (BCASW) raise our hands in respect to the foster parents and former youth in care who are calling for a well-funded and sustainable foster care system.

Fair wages, proper screening of foster parents, excellent training, ongoing support, and accountability are all essential elements of a system in which we take good care of children who are in the government’s care. We urge the provincial government to respond to the children and foster parents who are calling for improved foster care services in BC.

Paul Jenkinson, Fraser River Branch (BCASW), Past President