After months of relationship building, a family celebrated with a birthday sleepover.

Treatment Foster Care (TFC) parent Charlee McGuire has been caring for *Noah for two and a half years. Noah’s brother *Greg (four years old) came to live with them this past January.

Noah recently turned seven years old, and his biological mother, *Sally, was there for a sleepover!

Charlee said, “It took a lot of work to make contact and build a relationship with their mother. Sally was healthy and in a good place about a year ago, so we started having regular monthly visits.”

The TFC operates in northern and southern Saskatchewan and provides family-based care for children using professional foster parents. Foster families support the care, treatment, and community engagement of the children while helping to develop and strengthen healthy relationships with birth or reunification families. 

Charlee went on to explain that it was important to her to establish a relationship with the children’s birth family, and she has forged a real friendship with Sally, and they talk often. She feels comfortable calling Sally when one of the boys is having a bad day, and their mother will have a chat with her child.

“Noah was starting to have problems because he was afraid he was being disloyal to his mother by liking me. She assured him that wasn’t the case at all. He feels much better now,” said Charlee.

Charlee invited Sally to have a sleepover so she could be there in the morning when Noah woke up on his birthday.

“It was a total surprise for the boys. Noah is usually a chatterbox, but when he came in and saw his mother standing there, he was speechless!” chuckled Charlee.

They had a great time. Sally and her boys played together, made meals together, and she helped with the nightly routine. The next morning, they had confetti cannons and made a scrapbook together.

“It was well structured, and family focused. They had a great time as a family and made memories together they can talk about in the future. I would like their mother to come back for more sleepovers. It was just such a positive experience for everyone.” said Charlee.

Dianna Stang, manager of TFC in the north, said she feels it is extremely important and beneficial to the child, parents, foster parents, and the program to involve the biological families in the child’s treatment plan. 

“We do see TFC as a reunification program and the more we can engage a child’s family the better outcomes for the child. This also falls in line with our CARE principles of being family involved and I feel inviting the parent for a sleepover so the child could wake up on his birthday and have his mom there was an incredible experience for them both,” said Dianna.

*Names changes for privacy