Sharing inspirational stories of CARE helped a group of foster parents recently get through the dark days of winter.

Ranch Ehrlo’s Treatment Foster Care (TFC) service is an elite foster care program in partnership with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services to assist children who are in need of care in a family setting.

Foster parents use the CARE model of treatment, which is based on six principles: relationship-based, developmentally focused, competence-centred, trauma-informed, and ecologically oriented, to improve services for children.

Heather, an experienced foster parent who cares for multiple children, recently shared a CARE incident around trauma-informed and the relationship-based principles during a support meeting for foster parents. The story involved a boy in the home named Liam* who is extremely guarded and will only have superficial conversations with everyone.

Heather explained, “Recently, he had a bit of an episode where he was very angry. This time he actually opened up during his outburst and blurted something he hadn’t told anyone before. I think it was a realization for him. He cried for the first time.”

Heather is also a foster mother to teenage Olivia*. Olivia had an incident that was cause for concern, so Heather kept her home from school the next day.

To get her talking about the incident, Heather suggested they try some beading.

Heather described what happened during this activity, “I had Olivia choose different bead colours which represented different feelings. The biggest bead in the middle was her hopes and dreams. The emotion she felt most was pain, so she chose the colour for the first row of beads to represent that feeling. The next rows were for relief, emptiness, and happiness. The last three rows represented choices.”

The bracelet took six hours to complete, and the teen learned that something could be beautiful even if there were pain and sadness.

Heather revealed, “She learned that it’s okay for her to feel the negative feelings, but it’s okay to feel happy too. There can be beauty in imperfection. I told her that she chose the beads, just like she can choose how she lives her life.”

The third story Heather told described a boy who has been closed off to people in the past but was showing progress with his relationship-based skills to open to new friendships.

“Jack* has been really welcoming to a new little boy we have in our home. The little boy wanted Jack to only be friends with him, but Jack explained that he needs to be friends with everyone equally. Jack has also been welcoming, friendly, and open to the kids at school,” Heather explained.

These shared stories demonstrate the love and support each child receives in the TFC from trained professionals.

If you would be interested in becoming a foster parent in the TFC, please follow this link to learn more

*Names changed for privacy