Last week my Home Study process was started (you can read about it here) and this week my PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education) training has begun.
Here is the story of my first night of training…
Part One: The Personal Experience
Nerves / Anxiety
I was very nervous that I would be late. I live about 45 minutes from the City where my training is, without rush hour traffic. Due to the timing I wanted to give myself a little over an hour to get there to be sure I found it okay. For me, new places always make me nervous (ok, really nervous.. in ways that sometimes I can’t bring myself to actually go…)
I had asked my ex-husband to come over to watch the kids right after work so I could leave in good time. At lunch time I received a text that he had forgotten about an appointment he had that would make him late to watch the kids. My stress level rose, but I figured I would still have just enough time to get there. Then, he texted back and had made arrangements for the kids to be picked up straight from the bus and be watched until he got back (awesome!). This gave me extra time and reduced my stress so much!
I ended up being the first person there, which is really no big surprise, since I am usually early to everything. Quickly though people started arriving. We grabbed snacks and drinks and picked a seat and wrote our names on little tents to put in front of us. A wonderful woman (also single) sat down with me at my table and talked about where we were from and what we did for a living. She was very nice and was originally from a small town near mine! A couple sat down with us as well and they were very sweet!
We all went around the room and introduced ourselves. There were lots of single people, some LGBT couples and a few husband/wife couples (less than I expected!).
I felt excited and happy during the whole session. Earlier in the day when my stress rose, so did my doubts. I started rethinking if this was right for me. During the session, every doubt went away and I became excited again about the whole process. At one point I even thought about how maybe down the line I could get involved with the training portion, as a trainer. One of the trainers we had begun as a Foster parent, just like me. But that would be a few years down the road!
I am excited for next week’s session already!
Part Two: The Learning Experience
When I arrived I picked up the Binder of Resource material for the training. Let me start off by saying I have a thing for binders. I do, it’s weird. I LOVE organizing things in binders! So I was impressed by the binder they hand out. It had about 3″ worth of documents in it covering all nine sessions, plus additional information. Probably about 1000 pages… double sided. And I LOVED it! I had brought my own binder (you can see view of the inside of mine here), and it looked so small and insignificant beside the training binder. Anyways, on to the training…
- Welcome and Introductions
- Our trainers introduced themselves, then we all went around the room and introduced ourselves
- We learned about the binder quick (general layout, where to look and where the Homework was)
- Went over a Team Work Agreement for the course (so everyone was on the same page and working together)
- Went over purpose of the training and competencies we needed to learn
- Connecting with Resource Parenting: What? Why? Who? How?
- We went over information about CAS and how they are governed
- We also touched on the different types of Fostering, Kinship and Adoption and did a group exercise on Rewards and Challenges for each one
- We watched a movie about a Foster family and their experience
- Closing Remarks
I am an avid note taker. I have a horrible memory, so I write down everything. Here are some of the notes I made while our trainer was giving us more information (the What? Why? Who? How? portion)
Stats about the Children’s Aid Society (CAS):
These are the stats given in the class and were for their CAS location/area (in Ontario, Canada).
- 9025 Inquiries and Referrals last year (this could include someone calling to ask questions about their own children and how to deal with a certain situation)
- 2494 Investigations of abuse and neglect
- 5657 After-hours calls
- 1620 Families receiving service
- 650 Children in care (birth to 21 years) – 2 years ago this number was 860
- 50% of Children in care are Crown Wards
- 320 Foster Families
- 100 Adoptive Families
- 95 Adoptions finalized last year, or in the process of finalizing
- 50% of Children in Care return home in about 3 months
- Only children aged 16 and under can be apprehended
- Children in the system before age 16 can stay in care until the age of 21 (if not adopted or returned home).
- Once they turn 21, they “age out” of the system
- Children in care receive financial support to attend post secondary education
- Basic Board Rate – Children 0-17yrs: $30.84/day
- Provisional/Kin (in care) – Children 0-12yrs: $17.11/day
- Provisional/Kin (in care) – Children 13-17yrs: $20.76/day
- Daily Receiving Rate (on call Foster Parent): $44.27/day
Money is not taxable income and children are not claimed as dependents.
Additional money is given for:
- Clothing allowances (monthly)
- Extra curricular activities, camps, day care, school supplies, Birthdays, Christmas, etc.
- Dental and Medical coverage
- Children’s Allowance (to give to the children – rates differ by age)
Families they are in need of:
- Teen foster homes
- Medically fragile foster homes
- Native foster family homes
- Religious Minority families / Muslim
- Racial Minority families
- Foster homes with room for Sibling groups
- One stay-at-home-parent homes
If you have specific questions about my first night of training, or want to know more about any of the items above, please comment on this post and I will add more information.
Tonight’s session was mostly an overview. Next week we will be starting more detailed sessions. I will also post about my Homework (which is reviewed in the Home Study visits), once I sit down and have a look over it!