Children's Aid Society dealing with 'critical' shortage of foster families in Hamilton

The Hamilton Children’s Aid Society is putting out an urgent call for foster families to care for infants and toddlers.

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Rachel Threlkeld, who manages child placements, says it is becoming increasingly difficult to find homes for kids under two years of age because most parents are working full-time.

“Some days, we don’t have one bed or crib available to place a child in the entire city.”

In those circumstances, the CAS will check in with current foster families to see if they can take on the care of an additional child for a temporary period of time.

Threlkeld says the society is now considering how it can be more flexible to accommodate potential caregiver schedules.

“Working with them to sort of identify, ‘Is there someone known to the family who could help cover the times when they’re working?” she said.

Currently, there are 100 children under two years old in CAS foster care in Hamilton.

Substance abuse, neglect and poverty can be tied to how a child arrives in foster care, according to Threlkeld. Sometimes, she says, it’s known at the point of birth that they will be coming to the CAS.

“All families go through periods of difficulty and struggle but many families have other supports available to them. What we’re seeing with these young moms is that they don’t have those extended family supports so that’s where we come in.”

The ultimate goal, she says, is to reunite children with their parents. She describes it as families helping families.

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The immediate need at CAS is for 10 new homes to place children in, and 40 homes within the year.

Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent can find out more at

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