Melanie Filiatrault, BCFFPA President
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Melanie Filiatrault
"BC Federation of Foster Family Association"


May 16, 2007 Social Butterfly Club Member Interview: Melanie Filiatrault
President of BC Federation of Foster Parent Association
Reporter: Alice Zhou

Melanie Filiatrault has been a foster parent for almost 20 years. During that time, she and her husband Paul have parented over 42 children, one of whom they adopted. Melanie specializes in caring for children with very high needs, including Medically Fragile, Sexual Intrusiveness, Substance Abusers, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, transplant, and pregnant teen girls. She is also very well trained in infectious diseases, and continues to upgrade her skills and knowledge.
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Melanie Filiatrault
"BC Federation of Foster Family Association"


May 16, 2007 Social Butterfly Club Member Interview: Melanie Filiatrault
President of BC Federation of Foster Parent Association
Reporter: Alice Zhou

Melanie Filiatrault has been a foster parent for almost 20 years. During that time, she and her husband Paul have parented over 42 children, one of whom they adopted.

She is currently a foster parent to a sibling group of transplant children, the only ones in the foster care system in BC. These children have been in her home for many years are have remained healthy and strong thanks to the care provided by Melanie and Paul.

Melanie specializes in caring for children with very high needs, including Medically Fragile, Sexual Intrusiveness, Substance Abusers, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder, transplant, and pregnant teen girls. She is also very well trained in infectious diseases, and continues to upgrade her skills and knowledge.

Melanie has been involved with the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations at many levels since 1989. She began as the Kelowna local Vice President and representative to the FOK Regional Council. In 1990 she moved to become FOK Regional Vice President and Regional Representative to the BCFFPA Board of Directors.

Once on the Provincial Board Melanie moved quickly to chair several of the BCFFPA Provincial Committees including Childcare, Aboriginal Ad Hoc/Multicultural, and Policy and Procedures. As the Director of Childcare Melanie worked to bring in the Levels of Care System for BC Foster Parents as well as new Screening methods for recruitment of Foster Parents, and provided valuable input into the Technical Review Process. During her tenure as Director of the Aboriginal Ad Hoc committee she brought awareness of issues faced by Aboriginal Children and Youth in Care, and drafted the Provincial Protocol Agreement between the BCFFPA and the Federation of Aboriginal Foster Parents. She was also involved in the development of the “ROOTS” Program and is a strong supporter of the many joint initiatives between the FAFP and BCFFPA regarding this program.

Melanie assisted the BCFFPA Board of Directors in the rewriting of the BCFFPA Bylaws in 2002 in response to the downsizing and redesign of the Provincial Board.

From the position of Secretary and Policy and Procedures Chair, Melanie progressed to the office of Vice President and then to President, bringing with her a wealth of expertise related to the BC Child Welfare System.

In addition to her very busy life as a foster parent to three children and youth, and her own birth and grandchildren, Melanie makes time to provide music coordination to her parish. She sits on the Board of the Child Development Centre in the Okanagan Region, teaches music, and continues to pursue her interest in heritage home renovations.

Melanie’s shared her thoughts on fostering and foster parents with me. “Foster parents open their homes and lives to the children and youth they care for. Through the love and dedication given by their foster parents these children and youth gain the resiliency to deal with the many challenges they have encountered in their short lives. Foster Parents help them through the grief and loss they suffer when their families are lost to them, or when a parent dies. They are there to guide and nurture their spirits on the road to healthy adulthood. I am very proud to be part of this team of wonderful caring human beings.”

If you have a business or service and like to help, they have a great program called "Camp for Kids" where $250 allows the organization to send a foster family and their children to enjoy summer camp. Won't you help?
Foster Parents Celebrate 40 Years of
Sharing & Caring

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Vancouver, Canada, May 10, 2007: May 22-27, 2007, from 9:00am – 10:00pm daily, the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations, and the Ministry of Children and Family Development are very pleased to host the Canadian Foster Families Association at the “BCFFPA 40th Anniversary & CFFA Joint Conference”. Foster Parents, agency staff and others in the child care system from across Canada will have the opportunity to attend the CFFA meetings being held at the beginning of the five-day conference held at the Executive Airport Plaza and Conference Centre in Richmond BC.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
Education, Inspiration, Empowerment and Networking are just some of the goals this five day conference will strive to achieve. This conference marks the 40th anniversary of the BCFFPA, aiming to provide training and workshops to empower Foster Parents with the skills they need to deal with development, communication, behavioural and cultural issues related to the children and youth they integrate successfully into their homes and care for on a daily basis.

There are approximately 9,000 foster children in the care of the province of British Columbia. 46% of those children are of Aboriginal descent. The great work the BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations provides is supported through funding by the Ministry of Children and Family Development as well as through BCFFPA fundraising initiatives of which this conference plays a considerable role. Foster Parents from all parts of BC travel to the conference each year to celebrate their progress and success as a group and hear the inspirational stories from other Foster Parents. They also have a chance to meet face to face with social workers, agency representatives and other child welfare stakeholders for networking opportunities.

Well known to the Foster Parents community are speakers Mike and Marion Balla, who are strong advocates of Foster Parents and who have been involved in the child welfare system across Canada for many years. Patricia Richardson and her group of FASD affected young adults will lead a seminar on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and how parents can respond to assist and support the children at as early an age as possible to reach their potential development levels as they grow & mature. The opening ceremony will include a reception on Thursday May 24, 2007 from 7-10 pm with live performances from various children’s dance groups. The closing ceremony on Saturday May 26, 2007 will feature the Annual Banquet and Dance that will be extra special as we will share with Foster Parents from across Canada the 40 years of progress we have made to get us to where we are today! Many dignitaries and VIP guests including the Governor General, Mayor of Richmond, etc. have been invited to both functions.

We are expecting this to be a sold out conference. The Early Bird package $160.00 registration ends May 4, 2007, The Regular conference package is $180.00. The deadline for registration is May 17, 2007. Opening ceremony reception tickets can be purchased separately for $25.00. Closing ceremony banquet tickets are $50.00 for those individuals who do not wish to attend the entire conference. Participants can also join in a “West Coast Exploration” outing to Steveston Fishermen’s Wharf on Saturday, May 26, 2007 from 2-5pm. The cost for this outing is $20. Media is welcome!

Event registration, contact: Ellaine Ashby
Phone: 604 664-0124 Fax: 604 664-0127
Toll Free (in BC) Foster Line: 1-800-663-9999
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: www.bcfosterparents.ca
200 - 7342 Winston St., Burnaby BC V5A 2H1

ABOUT THE BC FEDERATION OF FOSTER PARENT ASSOCIATIONS
The BC Federation of Foster Parent Associations benefits approximately 9000 children and youth in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development by providing education, training, policy advocacy and a range of supportive services to Foster Parents in BC. This non-profit charitable organization was founded in 1967 with a mission to support children and youth to reach their full potential through excellence in foster care. We believe Resilient Foster Parents = Empowered Children and Youth.

For more information on the BCFFPA and how you can participate at our 40th Anniversary Celebration, please call 1-800-663-9999 or visit www.bcfosterparents.ca
 
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