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Becoming a foster family: the benefits of opening your heart and home

There are currently over 5,000 children and youth in care in British Columbia

October is Foster Family Month in B.C., and the BC Foster Parents Association (BCFPA), in partnership with Líl’wat Nation, is honouring those who step in to care for children and youth who, for many reasons, are unable to live with their families. Within the diverse fostering community in British Columbia work some of the most compassionate and dedicated individuals that one could ever hope to meet. 

Mavis Pascal, a foster parent in Mount Currie, B.C., is one such inspiring personality. She was,  herself, first inspired to foster when she moved in with her Auntie and her Auntie’s two  daughters at a young age, warmly welcomed into their home. 

Of this experience, Pascal recounts that “I’ve learnt so much from them that I feel very passionate [about fostering].” 

Informed by this passion and personal experience, what validated Pascal's decision to become a foster parent was when her best friend - a foster parent herself - expressed difficulty finding respite (also known as 'relief') care for the children and youth living in her home. She asked Mavis to consider signing up to become a foster parent, as well, and she did. 

A few courses later (an essential learning experience by her account), Pascal began to provide vital respite and relief care for many children and youth in her community, looking after them temporarily to allow for other foster parents to take much-needed self-care breaks. Today, Pascal now fosters four children and continues to be a force for good in her community. 

“I want them to know that they are loved,  they are wanted, that they can dream,” Pascal says of the impact she strives to have on the children and youth in her home. 

All that said, fostering is not without its challenges, one of which according to Pascal, is that “every child is different and they come with different behaviours.” For many like Pascal, respite and relief work provides an excellent entry point into the world of fostering, allowing those interested in the role to gain experience without committing to fostering a child or youth full-time. 

On this sentiment, Pascal implores, “If somebody is actually thinking about fostering–which I  hope you are–we need more foster families. If you’re unsure, that’s okay. Just sign up and be a  respite caregiver for a weekend. You would make a difference in your community and the lives  of vulnerable children, youth and families.” 

There are currently over 5,000 children and youth in care in British Columbia. If you are  interested in becoming a foster parent, either full-time or providing valuable respite and relief  care for those in your community, visit bcfosterparents.ca or call 1-800-663-9999.

 
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