Sandy Case, a Colwood foster mom, holds an imprint of one of her foster kid’s hands. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

‘Our goal is to heal families’: Colwood woman shares why she’s been a foster parent for 25 years

One woman has taken care of 125 foster children with her husband

One Colwood couple has cared for 125 kids in care since they first became foster parents 25 years ago.

“When they’re in my home, they’re not guests. They’re my children,” says Sandy Case, president of the Vancouver Island (South) Foster Parent Association.

“The first time saying goodbye to a kid was a shock. It was a pain I had never felt before. Some people don’t understand the ability to love another child as your own. It’s hard on your heart, but it’s rewarding.”

ALSO READ: BC youth aging out of foster care reform call for serious child welfare reform

Case first found her love of foster care when she welcomed three young kids into her home back in 1994. The arrival of the kids came as a surprise to her husband, Rob, when he arrived back from a rotation in the navy. She bundled up her own kids, six and 10 at the time, and the moment they saw each other on the dock, her kids yelled out, “Dad, look what we’ve got!’

The rest was history. Over the years, she watched many kids grow up. Some would stay for only a single weekend, and others would stay for as long as six years.

From countless nights rocking babies to sleep to getting another phone call that her kids were sent home from school, Case invested her life into her foster children.

READ MORE: B.C. paying foster parents instead of supporting struggling families, experts say

“We’re not in the business of taking kids away,” says Case while holding an 18-month old foster child. “Our goal is to heal families. There’s always a plan to send a child home and to provide support to the child’s village.”

The 18-month old is able to see their parents once a week.

According to the Ministry of Child and Family Development, there were 4,169 (2,928 Indigenous and 1,241 non-Indigenous) children and youth in foster care in B.C., as of August.

Notably, there are different types of care other than just foster care. Some children will be taken care of by Designated Aboriginal Agencies and others will be placed into group homes. The total number of BC children in care is 6,149 (4,048 Indigenous and 2, 101 non-Indigenous), as of August.

ALSO READ: Foster care is ‘superhighway to homelessness’, BC youth advocate says

The biggest struggle for foster parents is the time to take a break. For 15 years, she claims she didn’t take a break longer than a weekend to herself.

“There’s a lack of qualified people to provide adequate relief,” says Case. “Even though it’s tough, we keep going until we can’t anymore. Caregivers need a break too, and I’m lucky for my daughter because others don’t have that option.”

Sandy’s daughter, Lindsay, takes care of the kids when the couple wants to take a vacation.

“Every family is complicated,” says Case. “None of us are picture-perfect, but seeing the smiles on their faces at the end of the day makes it all worth it.”

October is Foster Family Month in B.C.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Esquimalt speed skating week helps province determine find fastest skater

Speed Week takes place on Dec. 17 at Archie Browning arena

Longtime Saanich drama group brings pirates onstage for traditional Christmas pantomime

St. Luke’s Players present Treasure Island Dec. 18 to Jan. 4

Goldstream church offers free festive feast

Gordon United Church says all are welcome to attend Monday’s meal

Sex workers march in downtown Victoria for Red Umbrella Day

Red umbrellas became a symbol of sex workers after an art installation in Italy

MLA Adam Olsen calls for ‘substantial’ changes in provincial economy

Green Party MLA also criticizes gap between government rhetoric and actions

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read