Parent and child fostering is a specialist type of fostering which involves supporting either a vulnerable pregnant mum or a parent and their young child. This is usually the mother, but occasionally it’s the father instead and sometimes both.
What is parent and child fostering?
Often, those referred to us for a parent and child fostering service have not experienced a caring and nurturing childhood, which can affect their ability to care for their own children. Or they may have learning disabilities, making it difficult for them to pick up parenting skills.
As a parent and child foster carer, you'll likely be fostering young or teenage mothers and their babies, toddlers or children. Mum and baby will stay in your home, while you support the mother to understand and respond to her child's needs.
Sometimes, the local authority may want to evaluate the mother's ability to care for their child and so you'll be required to observe and monitor their parenting skills. This is a key responsibility, over and above the usual role of a foster parent, which adds to the rewards as well as the challenges.
Mother and baby foster placements are incredibly rewarding as by providing strong support to the family at the beginning, it’s often possible to transform the experiences of both the parent and their child so that social services involvement isn't needed later in their life.
How long do mother and baby placements last?
Mum and baby will generally stay in your home for around 12 weeks, with a focus on helping the mother develop the awareness, confidence and skills to feed, care for and nurture her child.
Types of parent and child fostering placements
When a local authority is concerned about a parent’s ability to care for their child, they may decide to place them with experienced parent and child foster carers. This additional support may be provided to a mother or father and their child, before or after the baby’s arrival.
Pre-birth placements - an expectant mother will stay with a foster parent before the child is born, to help them prepare for the arrival of their child.
Assessment placements - once a baby has arrived, the local authority may wish to complete an assessment on their parenting ability, which takes around 12 weeks. During this time, foster parents will need to record their observations and may be asked to contribute to the ongoing assessment.
Parenting support placements - this type of support is offered to vulnerable parents with young children who need to learn basic care skills and how to provide a safe, nurturing environment for their child.
Are you suited to parent and child fostering?
You may be fostering teenage mums and their children, young mothers and babies, or even a father and child, so you'll need a deep understanding of parenting babies and very young children.
Relevant experience as a parent yourself or in some professional capacity, such as a midwife, would be a real advantage. Also due to the specialist nature, you’ll need to have completed all mandatory training and in most circumstances, you’ll need to have been fostering for a minimum of 2 years.
As mother and baby foster placements last up to 12 weeks and can be quite intensive, you’ll need to be on hand pretty much constantly, so the demand on your time is high.
Ready to start your fostering journey?
One of our team is available to talk to you over the phone to answer any of your fostering queries.
You can get in touch by filling out our online enquiry form with any queries that you may have.
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