The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services:
Minister Welcomes Delegates to National Foster Families Conference
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to extend best wishes to the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association as they host the 2012 Canadian Foster Family Association Conference in St. John’s this week.
This national conference brings together members of foster care organizations, foster parents, social workers, key note speakers and community partners from across the country to partake in a variety of informative workshops on foster care. The theme of this year’s conference, Joining Hands across Canada: Walking with Children and Youth, reflects the spirit of the event as it provides an opportunity for attendees to network and discuss how to best fulfill the important role they play in the lives of our most vulnerable children and youth.
Our government provides $10,000 annually to the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association’s provincial symposium and in honour of this wonderful national hosting opportunity, we have provided $55,000 to assist with conference planning and development. I am proud to say that our province is well-represented at the conference, with staff from the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services and foster parents from all regions attending.
In light of this national conference, I must take a moment to recognize the efforts of those involved with foster parenting here in our province. We are very fortunate to have 641 experienced and compassionate foster families who are dedicated to helping children and youth through complex situations. Their contribution is so incredibly important, which is why under Budget 2012: People and Prosperity, our government announced a new long-term continuum of care strategy that will offer more support to foster families.
With a total expenditure of $4.1 million in year one and an increase to $14.3 million in year two, this strategy will strengthen foster care by increasing funding for kinship arrangements and foster homes, and enhancing supports and training for foster parents. Improvements like the new four-level system will recognize the skills and training of our foster parents, and children and youth will be matched to a foster home that best meets their needs. During the conference tomorrow I will announce further details on this new system and the strategy.
The new continuum of care strategy, along with other significant undertakings by the department including the implementation of new legislation, a new organizational model, and the creation of the new Training Unit and Quality Assurance Division, brings the Provincial Government one step closer to making our child protection system the best in the country.
I would like to congratulate the Newfoundland and Labrador Foster Families Association on the hard work and effort put into the planning of the 2012 Canadian Foster Family Association Conference. I am certain it will be an incredible success for everyone involved.
Thank you Mr. Speaker.
2012 05 31 1:45 p.m.