Greater Victoria resident Sandy Case has been a foster parent for 25 years.

“My husband was in the Navy” says Sandy.   “He’s since retired, but he was away a lot, and I really wanted to stay home and raise my children.  That was in 1996.”

“I was 10 when my parents began to foster” says Sandy’s daughter Lindsay. “It’s a really eye opening experience. You don’t realize the different hardships that families and children have been through until you’re exposed to it.  It’s been 25 years now, and it’s just our normal now.”

Sandy is grateful to both her children, and her husband Rob, for all their support.

“We’ve been a true foster family” says Sandy, “and I think that [my kids] are amazing parents themselves.  I think they’ve learned a lot through this work about empathy, and about caring for your fellow man, and being there to help.”

Dan Malone is the executive director of Foster Parents Support Services Society, and says the need for foster parents, across Vancouver Island, is always great.

“If you have an extra bedroom” says Malone, “and you have an interest in fostering, I would want you to call us, or go on the website, fosternow.gov.bc.ca, or the fosterhope.ca, and find out more information.”

The Foster Parents Support Services Society helps Vancouver Island foster families from Victoria to Port Hardy.

“We’re here because it’s a complex system to navigate, and so we help them through that.  If you have the need to make a difference in a child’s life, yes there’s challenges, but the triumphs greatly outweigh the challenges” says Malone.

Sandy Case estimates that over her 25 years as a foster parent, she and her family have fostered about 125 children.

“Sometimes families are in need just for a weekend,” says Sandy.   “Sometimes it’s overnight until they can make a plan with another member of their family to help out.  There’s so many emergencies all the time, and so sometimes you could have a set of children just for a weekend, and then sometimes children stay in care longer.”

“I think, as my mom says, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever love” says Sandy’s daughter Lindsay.  “You get to be a part of these children’s lives, at usually one of the most difficult times in them and their family’s lives, and so it’s great to be able to help in the community.”

There are monthly information sessions across Vancouver Island. Click here to learn more.

Veronica Cooper