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Foster Care

Foster care is one option for providing homes for children and youth up to 18 who can't live safely with their own parents or caregivers. Foster parents provide the day-to-day care for a child on behalf of a children's aid society. The government licenses and funds Ontario’s foster care system.

Children can be placed in foster care by a children’s aid society for the child’s protection, voluntarily by their parents or caregivers, or by court order. There are many reasons a child may come into foster care including:

  • a family situation that could place the child at risk
  • an ill parent or parents who are not available and can't make arrangements for the child's care
  • neglect, abuse or abandonment of the child.

The needs of the child determine the level of care and the length of time required within the foster home. Children and youth can be in foster care for short-term or long-term periods.

Children’s aid societies work to reunite the child with their parents when it’s safe and possible. If this is not possible, other options may be explored such as customary care, legal custody or adoption.

Becoming a foster parent

Foster parents provide a stable and caring home that encourages a child's growth and development.

In Ontario, foster homes can care for up to four children at a time. Foster parents are people who have a genuine desire to help a child and youth’s well-being, contribute to their community, and come from all cultural and religious backgrounds.

To become a foster parent, the first step is to contact your local children's aid society. The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies provides detailed information about fostering.

Learn more

Financial assistance for family caring for children in need of protection