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When people think of fostering they often imagine young babies being taken into care and homed with foster parents. However, this is a myth and fostering babies is not a common occurrence. This is because young children who cannot remain with their birth parents are often more suited to adoption.
In fact, children under 1 make up just 5% of looked after children on average. There is a much higher need for fostering older age groups, especially teenagers aged between 10 and 15. However, if fostering babies is something that you’re interested in then there is a type of foster care that may be suited to you, namely parent and child fostering.
A parent, either a mother or father but sometimes both, alongside their baby, will come to stay with you as a foster carer. Local authorities will have decided that they are unable to care for the child themselves. This is where foster carers come in. They provide a safe home for the parent and give essential support and guidance to them to help them learn to nurture the child themselves.
The foster carer will help the parent to develop their skills and nurture the bond between the child and parent. Often, the parent will be quite young and not have had any experience of loving care themselves. This means they have no role model of how parenting should be and how to create a stimulating environment where a child can learn and grow.
This role requires a lot of time and effort and often involves helping the parent with essential life skills so that they have a good framework to continue caring for their child beyond the placement. On top of teaching them basic parenting skills such as feeding, bathing, and playing with the baby, they often provide guidance on household skills, cooking, cleaning, shopping, handling money and working with budgets.
While the parent and child are in your care, usually for a period of around 12 weeks, an assessment takes place. Foster carers work with social workers to assess the mother and/or father’s abilities to provide adequate care. This means that foster carers also have a responsibility for keeping records and using their observational skills to analyse the growth and development of the parent during their placement with you.
At the end of the placement, a decision will be made based on the findings of the assessment about whether the parent/s are capable of providing good enough care for the child. Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our carers these types of placements are often successful and result in a family being allowed to remain together in their own homes.
We recognise that this type of fostering is highly specialised and requires a lot of care, time, patience, and attention, that’s why our parent and child carers are paid a generous fostering allowance for their work. We also offer a full training package to ensure all new carers have the skills and knowledge they need for the role. If you’re interested, please get in contact with us. You can give us a call on 03300 948816, request an information pack, or simply ask a question by clicking here or using our live chat.
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