Foster families across the province will be recognized for their dedication to young people during Foster Family Appreciation Week, Oct. 16-22. “Foster families provide safe and nurturing homes for children and youth during very difficult times,” said David Morse, Minister of Community Services. “Nova Scotia’s foster families welcome young people into their homes with extraordinary kindness and compassion. I hope that all Nova Scotians take the time during Foster Family Appreciation Week to thank foster families in their communities for the care they provide to some of our most vulnerable children.” There are more than 700 foster families in Nova Scotia. Each year, the third week in October is set aside to recognize the love and support foster families provide to children and youth in care. The theme of this year’s Foster Family Appreciation Week is Open Doors, Open Hearts. As part of its annual celebration, the Foster Care program once again hosted an art and poetry contest for children and youth. The selected art contest entry was created by Joy, age 17 while the author of the selected poetry submission was Willow, age 8. Their entries can be viewed on the Department of Community Services website at www.gov.ns.ca/coms . Foster Family Appreciation Week was launched on Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Agritech Park in Bible Hill. A family fun day was held to celebrate the accomplishments of foster families across the province. Certificates of recognition will also be awarded to foster families for every five years that they have been caring for young people. “Nova Scotians can be proud of the dedication and support foster families provide to children and youth in care every day,” said Jill Wilson Kingston, provincial foster care services co-ordinator. “Young people in foster care have diverse and sometimes challenging needs. Our foster parents are well-equipped to support them, with comprehensive training, a team-based approach, and caring and compassionate hearts.” All foster parents attend comprehensive training programs to prepare them to help the young people in their care. Training issues cover such varied topics as sensitivity, the developmental needs of children and non-violent crisis intervention. Experienced foster parent trainers share their knowledge and help deliver the Parent Resource: Information, Development and Education (PRIDE) training with the Department of Community Services and the Federation of Foster Families of Nova Scotia. Foster parents also receive support to assist with costs associated with helping the young people in their care. More information about foster care, including how families can take the first steps towards becoming involved, is available by calling the 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-800-565-1884.