Starting in December, foster families will receive automatic payments to help cover recreational activities for children and youth in the care of the province.
The quarterly payments will be $90 for children who are four years old or younger, and $150 for children and youth from ages five to 18 years. The annual amount for recreation per child will be $600, which is an increase of $100.
“Foster parents do an amazing job helping young Nova Scotians when they need it most, and we know the costs of participating in activities can be challenging,” said Community Services Minister Kelly Regan, who made the announcement during Foster Parents Awareness Week. “Recreation is vital for the physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and young people. This funding will help foster parents provide children and youth in their care with opportunities to take part in arts, sports, and a range of community activities.”
The Recreation Automatic Payment can cover the costs of activities, lessons and sports gear that promote the well-being of children in care. These costs can include Brownies and Scouts, music lessons, sports and replacement gear including bicycles, or any activity that engages children and youth in the community.
“It’s a welcome change in our world. Anything that increases our time with the children is a blessing,” said Paula LeBlanc, a foster parent from Dartmouth. “It’s important for the children to participate in the community, because it gives them an opportunity to grow and develop.”
The Recreation Automatic Payment brings the total cost of this year’s additional investments to $1.6 million annually. In July, the province increased the per diem rate per child, as well as the babysitting rate, and introduced a $50 monthly automatic payment for mileage.
Currently, there are about 630 foster parents across Nova Scotia. A campaign to raise awareness is underway to increase that number so more children can live with safe, loving families.
For more information on how to become a foster parent, please go to fostercare.novascotia.ca.