Fostering Babies – The Facts
Many people are drawn to the idea of fostering babies. In their very nature, newborn babies and toddlers are vulnerable and defenceless, and this brings about a primal urge in others to care for them, love them, and ensure they are safe. Unfortunately, it is the case that carers are needed for babies who can no longer stay with their parents, but it is not as common an occurrence as people often assume.
Why do babies get taken into care?
Babies can be taken into care for a number of reasons. It may be that the mother has previously had children removed from her by social services for child protection reasons and therefore social workers believe that the new baby would be at risk. Sometimes parents have substance abuse related issues that may hamper their ability to provide care, or the birth parent may have decided to give the child up for adoption. In this case, foster homes are needed in the interim between the mother giving up the baby and the adoptive parents stepping in to legally take over guardianship and care.
Baby foster care statistics
Although very young children do enter the care system for the reasons stated above, they only make up a small percentage of the total number of looked after children. In most cases, foster families are needed on a short term basis to provide care whilst the child is waiting for adoption which provides a permanent safe home for the child.
In Wales, the latest government statistics show that 190 looked after children were under the age of 1 in the last year, whereas 1,900 children were aged between 10 and 17. The picture is similar in England with 63% of children ageing 10 or above and only 5% ageing under 1 year old.
From these statistics, we can see that although there is a need for baby foster parents, there is a much higher demand for those to look after older children including teenagers.
Parent and child fostering
There is a specific, specialist type of foster care that places a parent and their child into the home of a specially trained carer. Parent and child fostering, sometimes called mother and baby placements, are a highly unique type of foster care and the demand to recruit and train carers specifically for this type of care is high! This is a great option for those who feel they would be interested in helping to care for babies and toddlers.
This type of care is extremely important as it aims to provide a parent (usually a young one) with the skills and support they need to look after their little one and to help keep their family together. Your role as a carer is to safeguard the child whilst ensuring the parent is equipped with the right understanding and knowledge they need to perform parental duties. You will be required to provide adequate support to the parent whilst observing their actions and keeping a record of their performance. Full specialist training for this role is provided by us, including ongoing support from a highly trained member of our team.
Can you foster babies?
If you’re interested in learning more about fostering babies and parent and child care placements, we’d love to hear from you. You must be aged over 21 and have a spare bedroom in your home to apply. Alternatively, if you are an experienced carer and would love to know more about Family Fostering Partners, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can reach us by picking up the phone and calling 03300 948816 or by filling out our contact form.