Changes announced for foster care

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Charlene Johnson — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram

Minister Charlene Johnson received a standing ovation today from attendees of the Canadian Foster Family Association Conference in St. John’s after she announced changes to the province’ foster care services.

Amongst the changes announced by the Child, Youth and Family Services Minister at the Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland was a substantial increase in monetary support for those homes receiving the Child Welfare Allowance.

Those homes, which fall under the Kinship level introduced by government, will go from receiving $318 per month for youth from birth to the age of 11 years and $380 for those ages 12 to 18 years to anywhere from $715 to $915 per month depending on the age of the child.

The latter figures come from the current basic foster care rate. The rate is higher for foster care providers in Labrador.

Four levels of foster care have been developed based on the experience, training, and skills of foster parents, with hopes that youth will be matched with the appropriate families based on their specific needs.

At the lowest level is Kinship Homes, which include relatives or significant others and non-relative homes approved on an interim basis. Above that will be foster home that have completed Parents’’ Resources for Information, Development and Education. The first two levels will come into effect in January 2013.

The next level is specialized foster homes that can accommodate children and youth with complex needs and have a stay-at-home foster parent.

The fourth level involves contracted staffed residential services for youth with the most complex needs. Johnson said details relating to that level will be released in the fall.

Reimbursement for foster families through receipts will now be replaced with block funding. Johnson said this move will reduce administrative work for the families and allow them to focus more on caring for children and youth.

Pre-existing foster families may continue to use receipt based reimbursement if they choose to do so, while all new families will be required to accept block funding.

For more on this story, read the Weekend Telegram.

Organizations: Canadian Foster Family Association, Youth and Family Services Minister, Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland

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