Foster Parent Support Services Society, BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, VI Health Authority, BC Safe Babies Programs, and Sick Kids Foundation
Margaret’s Award Acceptance Speech:
On behalf of the Foster Parent Support Service Society, the BC Safe Babies Program Network partnership and our Collaborative Planning Committee I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Janis Rotman and the Sick Kids Foundation for affording us this opportunity to strengthen and expand the Safe Babies Foster Parent Training Program.
We feel very honoured and privileged to be recognized by this prestigious award.
Infants with prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol have complex needs and require extra support to have their daily needs met during the first years of life.
The Safe Babies Program creates better outcomes for these high risk infants ensuring they are cared for in an environment that contributes to their optimal health.
The program also provides easy access to education, on-going training and a peer support network for their caregivers.
The Rotman Award will provide us with the wherewithal to dramatically increase the number of trained facilitators in each of our communities, thereby increasing community capacity and accessibility of the program for our caregivers.
What does this award mean to our organization?
This is a wonderful gift. It means that we can address sustainability, caregiver retention and succession planning; provide easy, cost effective access to the program; increase community capacity; and provide current information, on-going training and meaningful support to our caregivers.
What does this award mean to the babies?
It means that they will be cared for by foster parents who understand, recognize and are trained to deal with their medical frailties; they will be cared for in a safe environment that supports their optimal physical, cognitive and emotional development.
We are very thankful for this generous gift, and this is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the many fine people involved whose commitment to the Safe Babies Program has greatly contributed to improving the outcomes for infants in care.
The foster parents, the social workers, the trainers, the administrators, and the community partners. Two of those individuals are here with us today: Veronica Berlando, Ministry Team Leader and Committee co-chair, and Lenora Marcellus, assistant professor at the University of Victoria, FPSS Board member and one of the original pioneers of the program.
All have our admiration, respect and appreciation for their remarkable contribution to this work.
Again – our sincere thanks to Janis Rotman and the Sick Kids Foundation, we firmly believe this award will have a profoundly positive impact on the lives of these vulnerable babies, and help ensure that they grow up strong, safe and supported.
Thank you for this opportunity. We will do you proud!
Margaret Howley, Executive Director FPSS Foster Parent Support Services Society