Foster Parents need to know their rights as caregivers to the most vulnerable members of our society. Here is a list of resources for your reference:
1. BC Ombudsman: If you are ever in a situation where you feel disrespected, not listened to, or that a decision was unfair by • Provincial government Ministries • Crown corporations (ICBC, BC Hydro, etc.) • Schools & universities • Hospitals & health authorities • Local governments & regional districts contact the BC Ombudsman. Here is a link to their website which has detailed information about their processes https://bcombudsperson.ca/.
2. BCFFPA: The British Columbia Federation of Foster Parents Association provides direct support to BC foster parents when they encounter challenges in the work they do. BCFFPA is structured to facilitate contact with all foster parents in the province and be a voice for them to improve fostering and child care standards. BCFFPA presents briefs to government agencies to express the viewpoints of foster parents on matters concerning children and act as a channel of communication between government, the community, and birth families of children in care. The organization can act as a direct advocate and mediator through the support to foster parents; their objective is to ensure best practice and to encourage all members of the care team to treat each other respectfully. Here is a YouTube video from their website regarding Foster Parent Rights www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrT3A8G1Nkg. You can contact them at 1-800-663-9999 or go to their website at www.bcfosterparents.ca/about-us/
3. Representative for Children and Youth (RCY): RCY supports BC’s young people and their families in dealing with the provincial child and youth welfare system. They help children and youth find services and if they are not able to help they will find someone who can. RCY is committed to ensuring that the rights and interests of children and youth are protected and upheld, and that they are heard and considered by decision makers. You can contact them at 1-800-476—3933 or go to their website at www.rcybc.ca/get-help-now/contact-us/
4. Okanagan Foster Parents Association (OFPA): OFPA provides support to foster parents by finding resources, providing educational opportunities, attending Protocol investigations if wanted, and recruiting new foster parents in the Okanagan and Shuswap. OFPA is managed by a Board of people with fostering experience who understands the joys and challenges that relate to fostering. Their mission is to enable foster parents to be better able to care for themselves, and and the children in their care with education and support. You can contact your Shuswap Coordinator at 1-250-515-1522 or go to the OFPA website at www.fosteringokanagan.com.
5. Foster Parents!: As foster parents you are on the front lines regarding advocating and caring for children in care. It is important to understand how to be a successful advocate. Please see this information brochure from the BCFFPA website to help guide you through the process. Advocating for yourself, involves advocating for the children in your care.
6. Safeguarding: You may be familiar with what to do in case you find yourself involved in a protocol investigation or quality of care review. You have the right to a support system of your choice. For example you can ask the Support Worker in your area (we now have 3 in the Shuswap who may be available, contact Heather for details), who will sit with you through the process and document what is said during the meetings if you choose. See this brochure for more information.
Okanagan Foster Parents Association