Foster parents are getting more money to help with the costs of looking after the children in their care.
“Foster families are loving and caring people who open their hearts and homes to children in need of care. We want to make sure we support the important work they do,” said Kelly Regan, Community Services Minister. “Over the years, the cost of caring for children has increased, but foster parent rates haven’t always kept up with those costs. That’s why we are making these improvements, based on what we’ve heard from foster parents directly. This will mean better supported children and parents, stronger families and a stronger Nova Scotia.”
As of Aug. 1, foster parents will receive more financial supports for things including babysitting rates and per diems. In addition, reimbursement for travel expenses will move to an automatic payment system, making it easier for foster parents.
The funding would allow the department to:
— increase the per diem rate for children up to nine years of age from $17.50 to $19, and for children 10 years of age and older from $25.43 to $27.50
— increase the babysitting rate for children up to 12 years of age from $4 to $10.60 per hour for the first child. The rate for each additional child is $4 per hour, for up to four children per household
— introduce a new monthly auto-payment for mileage of $50 per child.
“Today is a good day to be a foster parent,” said Wendell Fraser, chair of the Federation of Foster Families of Nova Scotia Board of Directors. “We appreciate the teamwork that has been displayed by the province.”
Currently there are 619 foster parents across Nova Scotia. A campaign to raise awareness is underway to increase that number so that more children can live with a safe, loving family.
“I appreciate the efforts being made to create change within the foster system,” said Nattie, a former foster child, from Truro. “There’s more to do, but I’m reassured that I can share my concerns, and am confident that our voices are being heard.”
“I thank everyone that worked on the changes to make foster care better for our children,” said Maureen, a foster parent from Halifax Regional Municipality. “I am positive that these changes will help retain current foster homes and may also encourage more people to become foster parents.”
The total cost is an additional $1.6 million annually.
For more information on how to become a foster parent, go to fostercare.novascotia.ca