That is the cornerstone of Caithkin Treatment Foster Homes’ philosophy.
2021 marks Caithkin Treatment Foster Homes’ 20th year, providing structured and nurturing environments for some of our society’s most vulnerable members. Licensed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, Caithkin adheres to the policies, guidelines, and procedures of the Province’s Child, Youth and Family Services Act (2017). There are many distinct roles in the organization; foster families, clinical foster home resource workers, treatment support workers, committed volunteers, and Caithkin’s very dedicated administrative staff.
Caithkin was born from Executive Director, Ainslie Tomlinson’s vision. Ainslie has worked in all aspects of the Child Welfare System, and has spent her career seeking to support the best solutions for children who have been removed from their biological family environment for various reasons and through no fault of their own. Caithkin’s goal is to provide a nurturing environment, giving each child the opportunity to learn and grow. Long term fostering can be a viable alternative to adoption.
Fostering has long suffered from the historical view that Foster Parents “stock-piled kids and were only in it for the money”; and that children in the system were “trouble.” Caithkin believes that Foster Parents are the most critical members of the team and are the primary therapist. Parenting a foster child in many ways is no different than caring for a biological child, but there are additional systemic demands: they also participate in regular meetings with placing agency staff, meeting with child support workers, and support specialized individual needs. Caithkin believes that these dedicated families should be recognized as the professionals they are. Without their contributions to help all members of a treatment team understand the
challenges that each child faces, Caithkin’s primary goal will not be achieved. Foster families are supported by the clinical team, whose responsibilities include ensuring that proposed placements “match” the family’s inner workings with whom they are placed and liaise with the placing agency, schools, and community resources on families’ behalf. Support to each home also includes a 24/7/365 emergency line, creative and skilled intervention of their Treatment Support workers when deemed appropriate, and if necessary regular respite. Caithkin relies on committed volunteers who assist with the many transportation demands that accompany visits with biological family, medical and mental health professionals, and special school programming. The administrative staff ensures that they meet, at all times, the documentary requirements of Caithkin’s license.
Caithkin’s vision has evolved over the past 20 years, with the increase in societal pressures. There has been a shift from group care to family-based programs. Children face increased technological challenges with the evolution of social media, cyber-bullying, and now, online education. These newer challenges add to existing ones of; mental health, the emphasis put on cultural and gender identification, alcohol-related neurological disorders, Autism, developmental challenges, human trafficking, trauma, and the recent need to support the transition of their clients into the adult system.
The need is great. Children are our future. Caithkin has and will continue to strive to do its part to meet this need. They have been successful thus far with the commitment, and with the ongoing help and support of our local communities, they will surely succeed in the future.