Children First is the foster care and kinship program for Unlimited Potential Community Services. We provide safe, temporary out-of-home placement for children who have nowhere else to turn. Children are matched with skilled caregivers who provide a family-based environment to nurture each child and stabilize behaviours.
Our agency operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Within the Children First program, we deliver a continuum of culturally appropriate services to promote the well-being and independence of each referred child, family, or young adult.
The program offers a full range of family-based care, capable of addressing the needs of children with difficulties ranging from minimal to intensive or specialized. Placement duration varies from short to long term, depending on the needs of the individual child.
Children First serves children who are unable to live with their family of origin. The program receives children and young adults up to 17 years of age, of any race or cultural background. In Alberta, there are normally between 5,000 to 6,000 children in approximately 1,800 foster homes, under the authority of the Ministry of Edmonton and Area Child and Family Services.
Most children who come into care return to their birth families. These children need foster families willing to provide them with a loving and stable temporary family until issues are resolved and the children can return home.
Other children come into care with a high probability of becoming permanent wards. Ideally, these children are placed immediately into foster families who are able and willing to adopt them when they cannot return home, so that the children’s first foster placement is also their last.
Care for each child in the program is provided by a collaborative team of experienced and qualified agency staff and foster parents, who work with the child, the child’s family, Child and Family Services workers, designated professionals, and community members to meet the child’s individual placement needs.
Children First’s experienced, long-tenured family support workers are committed to improving the lives of the children they care for, acting as their supporters and champions. They provide foster parents with supervision, support, technical assistance, training, and evaluative feedback on case planning and intervention strategies. An assigned family support worker visits each foster family home at least once every 60 days (more frequently when needed) and stays in regular phone contact. The support worker also meet with and observes the child in the foster home to review the child’s adjustment to the home, and to hear any concerns or feedback he or she may have.
A support worker is on call 24 hours per day to assist foster homes or children with any issues that may arise.
The following supports are also available: