Letter 7 December 6, 2013

Please know that while journalists are investigating the deaths of children/youth within the Foster Care system, you continue to have the great admiration and respect of many. While it is true that there are isolated instances of mistreatment, abuse, and sadly fatality, within any public, or privatized, human services delivery system, there are also untold and unrecognized super-human efforts made every day by Foster Parents throughout this province. While it would be unfair to condemn all foster parents for tragedies that happen to children in care, it is equally unfair to ignore that any instances of abuse or neglect have occurred; or, that foster parents make significant, positive, and life-changing, differences in the lives of children and youth in Alberta.

It has been implied that the province, foster parents, and even natural or biological parents are sworn to secrecy in matters pertaining to the identification of children in care; and as such, journalist/investigators are not able to obtain well founded or complete reports of deaths or abuse in the system. It is not secrecy but respect through confidentiality which measures your honour and dedication to families. Unfortunately, your dedication to ethics and morality that will lead the public to assume that your involvement in caring for he children in Alberta is necessarily tainted.

Nothing could be further from the truth; but, as you know, a good measure of any vindication that you may be able to obtain in the media will never be possible or revealed. Simply, you and those employed within the Ministry are not at liberty to disclose. This is an honour that you have agreed to assume even though it will cause you great consternation, hardship, and perhaps will even fuel a decision that you may make to stop fostering.

Please, do not stop fostering, irrespective of these current investigations, or your inability to disclose information that would help you to paint yourselves in a more favourable light to some members of the public. Your service, and your commitment to providing safety to children and families cannot be understated or replaced. Without any other bureaucracy or support, foster parents who would open up their homes to vulnerable, compromised, or otherwise homeless or destitute children are our most valued resource.

-Daniel W