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Child, Youth and Family Services
October 16, 2009

Foster Families Week Celebrates the Work of Foster Families

Foster Families Week, which runs from October 18 to 24 across the country, provides an opportunity to acknowledge the valuable contribution that foster families make to our communities, says the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services.

"I commend the families who open up their hearts and homes to welcome in children," said Minister Burke. "This week is about recognizing their dedication and commitment to our most vulnerable children. Foster parents are the backbone of the child protection system in Newfoundland and Labrador and they play a critical role in supporting our overall mandate to keep children safe. Certainly, a key focus of the new Department of Child, Youth and Family Services will be finding ways to better support them in their work."

The week also highlights the ongoing need for more foster care families across the province. Fostering means providing temporary care for children who cannot live with their own families.

"We have more than 450 foster families who work day and night to support and nurture these children," said Minister Burke. "But there are still many children requiring temporary and emergency care in Newfoundland and Labrador. Individuals who might be interested should find out more about becoming a foster parent."

Regional CYFS offices and the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association will be holding events across the province to highlight and celebrate the work of foster families. On behalf of Minister Burke, Bob Ridgely, MHA for St. John�s North District, will attend the official kick-off event on Sunday, October 18, at the Dominion Community Room on Blackmarsh Road, at 2:00 p.m.

"I am very pleased to be part of this event," said Mr. Ridgely. "The role of foster parents is not always understood and their efforts are not always recognized. They should be congratulated for the services they provide to children going through a challenging time in their lives."

Diane Molloy, Executive Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association, agrees that foster parents are often unsung heroes.

"They are key members of a team dedicated to helping children through very difficult situations by offering support, hope and a safe environment," said Ms. Molloy.

"Becoming a foster parent is incredibly rewarding work. You can make a real difference in a child�s life. Foster parents are ordinary people doing extraordinary things in our communities."

Earlier this year, the Provincial Government announced a substantial increase in foster care rates which will be phased in over a two-year period. Budget 2009 included $1.3 million to provide rate increases for foster families as well as infant allowances, initial placement allowances and Christmas allowances. An additional investment of $2.4 million will be made in 2010.

In recognition of the higher cost associated with living in Labrador, an additional 15 per cent will be added to the basic rate and the infant allowance and 30 per cent will be added for foster families living in Labrador�s most remote communities.

Through the new provincial Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, the government hopes to work with the association to find new and innovative ways to further strengthen the foster care program in Newfoundland and Labrador.

For further information about becoming a foster parent, contact a local CYFS office or the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association.

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Media contacts:

Susanne Hiller
Director of Communications
Child, Youth and Family Services
709-729-5148, 697-3760
Diane Molloy
Executive Director
Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association

2009 10 16                                                     11:35 a.m.

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