Different Partners Roles in IFC
Inclusive fostering is the relationship between a child in care and their family and foster family. Parents, foster caregivers, social workers, and children work together to ensure that everyone is safe. They teach each other to care for the child. They develop honest open communication, respect, trust and love. Foster care is viewed as a temporary extension of the child’s family, not as a replacement for it. Although parents may not always provide full-time care for their children, the connection between them is never broken.
– Towards Inclusive Foster Care Policy Handbook, 2003
Watch this video for more information on recommendations for foster caregivers.
In inclusive fostering, the parent might take the role of teacher to the foster caregiver.
Participating in cultural activities together will help develop the parent—foster caregiver relationship. It is helpful if the foster caregiver asks the parent about familial child-care practices and traditions. For example, the parent can explain what words are used for relatives in their language and what the child should call the foster caregiver(s). Each partner has a different role when it comes to inclusive fostering. Also, check out the Inclusive Foster Care: How Do We Do It? Booklet for additional tips and suggestions.
Within the Family Care contract, something every foster caregiver has signed, VACFSS has outlined the following expectations for caregivers in facilitating involvement specifically for cultural activities:
- Cooperatively working with the VACFSS Guardianship social worker and the VACFSS Cultural Coordinator in building and implementing the cultural component of the Plan of Care;
- Seeking out information, knowledge and opportunities specific to the child’s Nation/Band of origin;
- Encouraging the child’s involvement in specified cultural activities;
- Participating themselves in cultural activities with the child;
- Creating a welcoming and accepting home environment that reflects the child’s specific culture;
- Adopting positive attitudes and behaviours that will encourage and promote a positive healthy environment for the child, in regards to their heritage and culture; and
- Positively interacting with family, community members and Elders who are involved in the child’s cultural life.
Networking in Community
Building connections with a child’s Nation is an important part of inclusive fostering, as it contributes to the development of a child’s identity; it is one of the three components of Inclusive Foster Care. Developing relationships with family and other community members from a child’s home territory is important and can impact a child’s engagement with cultural practices and traditions. There are also local opportunities for caregivers to engage in for children to learn about their culture. It is important to engage in community-based cultural events locally, in addition to visiting a child’s home territory, to support a child’s emerging identity as an Indigenous person. Local community engagement and networking is also beneficial when parents and extended family are involved; participating in learning and events together can aid relationship building between foster caregivers and parents. It is important to note two things:
- Remember that engagement with cultural activities and learning should be done with the child, not just for them. It is important for caregivers to also engage with a child’s culture.
- Children can participate in other Nation’s cultural practices and events, but there must be clarity about the child’s unique cultural identity. It is important for children to engage in cultural learning related to their own Nation and have an understanding of what that means.
- Find cultural activities, events, and programming in your area here.