The Foster Family Coalition of the NWT launched a new recruitment strategy at the legislative assembly today.
The campaign, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Services, is headed by the catchphrase “We need you.”
The new strategy aims to recruit new foster and adoptive parents across the territory and send “the message that prospective foster and adoptive families will not begin their journey as foster or adoptive parents completely alone,” a news release from the coalition states.
“We have a video that’s going to be released through several media outlets, theatres, radio stations, any TV we can access,” said Tammy Roberts, executive director of the Foster Family Coalition of the NWT.
Glen Abernethy, minister of Health and Social Services said some communities in the territory fare better than others when it comes to finding foster homes.
“In some of our communities we do struggle and the Foster Family Coalition is an important part of helping us find foster parents,” said Abernethy.
“We want people who are loving and caring, who can provide a safe place for children in need. If it’s temporary, if it’s mid-term or longer-term, we need people to help.”
According to the department, there were 136 children and youth in foster care and 114 foster care homes spread across the territory as of November 1, 2018.
Abernethy couldn’t provide an exact number but said the number of children in permanent care has been on the decline in recent years.
“But the number of children and families accessing the system is up,” he said.
“So that’s mixed messaging right, I mean we know there’s more people accessing voluntary services, we know there’s less people in permanent care, but even temporary care is important. We need to make sure we have foster families and other supports for short-term care as well.”
Over fifty percent of children receiving those services are in their own home, said Roberts.
“I think it’s important to realize that there isn’t a bunch of kids waiting, but it’s nice when we have homes that come forward, we can see what their strengths are then we can properly match kids with a caregiver that can meet their needs,” she said.