Fostering children a 'special thing,' and P.E.I. needs more families to step up
P.E.I. is looking for foster families from one end of the Island to the other, and a veteran of the program is encouraging people to volunteer for this life-changing service.
Mary Noye has been fostering children for more than 12 years. She has taken more than 90 into her home, some for just a few hours, and others for years.
"Until you've worked with children that have gone through what these children have gone through, some of them, you'll never really understand it," said Noye, who is also president of the P.E.I. Federation of Foster Families.
"These little people come to you with all kinds of needs, and their family just needs support and we need to help them get through that time."
The Department of Social Development is looking for families all over the province, because when a child needs to go into foster care, the aim is to minimize the disruption of what will be a difficult time.
"We want children to be able to stay in their own community while they're not able to live with their parents," said Melissa Walsh, resource supervisor with the department.
"We would like them to be able to stay in their own community, to stay at their own school, to continue to have their friends, but sometimes that's not available."
All kinds of family types are encouraged to consider fostering, including single parents, grandparents, and same-sex couples.
The hardest part
Noye said it is difficult to understand the importance of the work — how it changes the lives of both the child and the foster parents — until you are doing it.
"It's just a really special thing to be able to help out," she said.
You just feel bad that people are struggling and that children are involved. — Mary Noye
"I don't think I ever realized the things that were happening in my own little city. You hear things and you see things that, you just feel bad that people are struggling and that children are involved."
She said the hardest part of the job can be letting the children go eventually.
"We know when they come in we're there to help them .. and support them and get them back home," she said.
"That's our job, but it's not always an easy job."
The province will hold several information sessions on becoming a foster parent over the next few months.
There will be three sessions in Charlottetown at the Child and Family Services office at 161 St. Peters Rd. They will be June 14, July 5 and Aug. 15.
There was a session in Summerside on Thursday at the Child and Family Services office at 290 Water St. and a second is planned for June 29.
You can register for a session by email or by calling 902-888-8106.