SAULT STE. MARIE -- The need for foster parents in Sault Ste. Marie is so severe that if siblings need to be placed in foster care, staff with the Children's Aid Society of Algoma say they wouldn't be placed in the same house.

"If we got a call right now needing to place a sibling group, it would be extremely challenging to place them here in the Sault," said Lanna Coletti, of the Children's Aid Society. "It would be next to impossible to place siblings together."

Currently, there are 118 children in foster care throughout 90 homes in the Algoma region. Coletti says CAS is having a hard time finding foster homes for teenagers. The struggle to find adults willing to take in a child or teenager is the worst Coletti has seen in two decades. She said cutbacks from the provincial government hasn't helped.

"Changes to our program that are outside of our control as well has also contributed too like funding cuts has meant we’ve had to cut programs that were direct supports to some of our foster parents so that has had an impact as well."

After being a part-time foster parent for 18 months, Chrissy Flietstra has taken in a five-year-old boy. She said her upbringing made her want to be a foster parent.

"My parents also fostered when I was a teenager so that was a really great introduction into this kind of lifestyle and what that might look like," said Flietstra. "Seeing my brothers come through that and how they’ve succeeded in life I just knew that was something I needed to be a part of."

She said the pandemic has made it challenging, but seeing the joy in her five-year-old foster son is worth it. They just recently celebrated his fifth birthday.  

Find more information about becoming a foster parent here