Foster Care - Becoming a Foster Family

Take the Challenge # Become a Foster Family


What is foster care?

Foster care is providing part-time or full-time care of a child in your home during a time when the child cannot safely live with his/her family. It is supportive care with the goal of reuniting the child with his/her family. As a foster parent, you will work as a member of a team of professionals to help the child and family to resolve their problems.


Why do children need foster care?

  • Many are neglected and emotionally abused. Some have been abandoned.
  • Many have been physically and/or sexually abused.
  • Some have conditions that challenge the parent's ability to cope (e.g., Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, medically fragile, medically and physically disabled)
  • Many have been impacted by domestic  violence, alcohol and drug abuse.

Who are the children in foster care?

  • They range in age from infant to teens.
  • They cross all racial, cultural and socio-economic lines.
  • They all have special needs (physical, emotional, educational and behavioural).

Who do we need homes for?

We need families for children of all ages and lengths of time. We especially need homes for:

  • Older children and teens (The average age of a child in care is 10 years old.)
  • Alcohol and drug affected children
  • Aboriginal homes for Aboriginal children
  • Sibling groups

Who can become a foster parent?

Foster parents come from all segments of society. Foster parents are:

  • Over 18 years of age
  • Singles or couples who have been in a stable relationship for at least one year
  • Renters or homeowners with suitable living arrangements
  • In reasonable good health and free of major illness for the past year
  • Financially stable
  • Free of having experienced significant trauma for the past year (e.g., divorce, death in family, etc.)

What supports are available to foster parents?

  • Training: We provide skill-based training.
  • Foster care caseworkers specialize in support to foster parents.
  • Caseworkers will assist you with problems concerning the child.
  • Other professional support (e.g., counsellors, youth care workers)
  • Financial support: A basic maintenance fee is paid to foster parents per day based on the age of the child. Additional fees are also paid to foster parents based upon their training and experience.
  • Associations: Chinook Country Foster Parent Society and the Alberta Foster Parents Association promote the interests of fosters families and foster children.


How do I become a foster parent?

  • Call your local Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority office and get more information.
  • Attend an information session.
  • Attend our Parent Preparation Training (24 hours of training about foster care).
  • Before you are accepted as a foster parent you will need to undergo a Home Study.


You will need to provide:

  •  a description of your family and background
  • a medical assessment
  • 3 references
  • Criminal Record Check
  • Child Intervention Check


For more information please call:

Southwest Alberta Child and Family Services Authority

388-7651 (Lethbridge)

Lethbridge Centre Tower
400-4th Avenue, South
Lethbridge, AB  T1J 4E1