October is Foster Family month and the Carrier Sekani Family Services is a unique organization in providing foster care. The service provides foster care to Aboriginal children in Prince George and other areas of Northern B.C.. Aboriginal children currently make up 80 percent of youth who are fostered in the area. The organization’s goal is to keep the children within their own communities when they are cared for.
“If our children can’t be with their immediate families, we’d like to keep them within their extended family, within their clan, within their nation,” said Mary Teegee, Executive Director, Carrier Sekani Family Services. “Every child has that right to be raised by people that are their blood, to be raised on their own land and to be raised in their indigenous ways.”
Carrier Sekani Family Services currently has 70 families fostering children. More families are needed for children in Vanderhoof, Fort St. James and Fraser Lake. The service says any family can get involved with Carrier Sekani’s foster program.
“Single people as well can take care of children, it’s whoever’s really willing to give up themselves, to give out their heart and time and the rewards are amazing.” said Teegee.
Kerri Leeson has been a foster parent for twelve years and has had almost 40 children come through her home. Leeson describes being a foster parent as a fulfilling experience. She recognizes the importance of the children being in their community.
“The joy and the look on the children’s face when they know that they’re home even though they live in Prince George, their home is always their home and to see extended family is so important.” said Kerri Leeson.
Anyone interested in becoming a foster family can find more information at Carrier Sekani Family Services website or call its phone line at (250) 562-3591.