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Foster Care Overview

Foster care helps keep kids safe.

Sometimes parents can’t provide proper care and support for their children even after receiving counseling and help. In such cases—for example, in times of family conflict or parental illness, or in situations of abuse or neglect—children may be placed in a foster care family. Agencies that provide child protective services in Ontario are required to provide foster care under the Child and Family Services Act.

Foster care is temporary.

The goal of foster care is to return children to their natural family if conditions improve. Foster parents understand this and work with the agency to plan for that end. When returning a child to his or her parents is not possible, longer-term solutions such as adoption are considered.

Foster children need support.

Foster children range from infants to youth as old as 18, and come from a variety of cultural, racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds. Some children are in foster care voluntarily, while others are in care by court order.

What all foster children have in common is that they are going through difficult times in their lives. They are often struggling with feelings of loss, separation and confusion. They need the help and support of foster parents to keep them safe and provide for their needs.

Kinship care

In kinship care, a relative or someone else emotionally close to a child takes on the responsibility of raising them. This person may be an extended family member — such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle, brother, sister or cousin — or a familiar adult in the community, such as a teacher, neighbor, coach or employer. Kinship care may provide a temporary or long-term relationship for the child.