Western Univeristy researchers examine troubled state of foster care in Canada

By Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press

(QMI Agency file photo)

(QMI Agency file photo)

A new study of foster care in Canada led by a researcher at Western University reveals a shrinking number of foster care providers are available across the country to care for a growing number of children with increasingly complex disorders.

The study, led by Alan Leschied from Western’s faculty of education, is the single largest review of foster care ever conducted in Canada.

The two-year study included input from 941 foster parents from every province and territory.

“This report sheds light on the challenges to organizations and foster parents that are charged with caring for an ever-increasing number of children and youth,” Leschied said.

“Our society asks these people to take on Herculean responsibilities, but without adequate support and training to properly support the children for whom they are providing care.”

The work was funded by the Child Welfare League of Canada, whose chief executive, Gordon Phaneuf, said the key may be reaching out to newer Canadians to become foster parents. The study found most were middle-aged and of European descent.

“The new faces of foster care must reflect the diversity of the country and of the kids being served,” Phaneuf said.

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