Expressing thanks to foster families is easy for two 10-year-old girls whose art and poetry will be highlighted in thank you ads in recognition of Foster Family Appreciation Week, Oct. 15-21. As part of the annual celebration, the Foster Care program hosts an art and poetry contest for children and youth in foster care. This year’s theme is Foster Families Change Lives. The selected art contest entry was created by Jessica and the author of the selected poetry submission was Searra. Their entries can be viewed on the Department of Community Services website at www.gov.ns.ca/coms/whatsnew.html. “Caring for a child who needs a home and a family is one of the most selfless acts someone can perform,” said Judy Streatch, Minister of Community Services. “Foster families bring children and youth in need into their home and provide more than food and shelter – they provide love and attention and become positive role models. They deserve our thanks” Foster Family Appreciation Week will be launched on Sunday, Oct. 15, at the Universite Sainte-Anne, Church Point, Digby Co. A family fun day will be held to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 700 foster families across the province. Certificates of recognition will be awarded to foster families for every five years that they have cared for young people. “We can all be proud of the dedication and support foster families provide to children and youth in their care,” said Jill Wilson Kingston, provincial foster care services co-ordinator. “Young people in foster care have diverse and sometimes challenging needs. Our foster parents are well-prepared and equipped with training, a team-based approach, and equally as important, caring and compassionate hearts.” All foster parents attend comprehensive training programs. Training issues cover topics like sensitivity, the developmental needs of children and non-violent crisis intervention. Experienced foster parent trainers share their knowledge and help deliver the Parent Resource: Information, Development and Education training with Community Services and the Federation of Foster Families of Nova Scotia. Foster parents also receive support to assist with the costs associated with helping the children or youth in their care. More information about foster care, including how families can take the first steps toward becoming involved, is available by calling the 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-800-565-1884.