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Parent and child foster care is very different from foster care in general. Although it is a type of fostering, it does not involve looking after a foster child in the same way as you would if you were a long term, respite, or emergency foster carer.
This is because adults with their children come to live with foster carers in their homes or at specialised residential facilities. Whilst caring for the baby, toddler, or young child is part of your responsibility as a foster carer, in the most part, you are not acting as a foster parent to the child but as support to the birth parent who is also in your care.
As a carer for parent and child placements, your main responsibility is to safeguard the child whilst providing valuable life lessons, support, and instruction to the parent. The parents in these types of placements are often young, vulnerable, and have not had a good example of parenting themselves. They too may have been in care or never had a good parenting role model in their life. They may be completely unaware of what parental responsibilities are, how to care for a child, and how to provide a supportive environment for a child’s development and ongoing upbringing.
Instead of primarily caring for the child as a foster parent usually does, this role requires an additional level of responsibility and understanding as you must guide the birth parent to care for the child themselves. Providing guidance, offering support, and teaching them about how to live stably whilst caring for a child.
One of the main purposes of these types of placements is to assess the mother or father in your care and gain an understanding of their ability to provide adequate care. During the placement, an assessment will take place, usually over a three month period.
As a carer, you will be part of a team of professionals who are involved in assessing the parent. You will be working alongside qualified Family Fostering Partners social workers and staff to perform the assessment, often meeting with link workers every week for meetings and discussions.
Being the person who is closest to the parent and child, the carer is essential in obtaining observations and recording information that is crucial for safeguarding the child and protecting their welfare. However, we understand that being observed can be very scary and intrusive for mothers and babies, that’s why the assessment is carried out over a period of months to give all a chance to settle in and to provide real, meaningful results for the assessment.
The end goal of this type of placement is always to help keep the family together and teach the parent valuable skills that will mean they can remain a parent to their children. For the right families, this approach ensures great outcomes, building happier futures for families who can move back home and provide ongoing care in their own environment.
This is a very specialist form of care and Family Fostering Partners provides full, in-depth training for this role in addition to the standard training all foster parents receive. This training includes recording, observation, and organisation skills as well as other capabilities which will be crucial to you in this type of role.
As parent and child carers work as part of a team of professionals, support is always available to them and they are never left to worry alone. We offer a 24/7 support service for foster parents to ask questions, get help, and receive support for any issues they are facing.
If you are, we’d love to hear from you. This role is extremely rewarding and we also offer generous allowances in light of the specialist nature of the role and the skills it requires. For more information, please give us a call or fill out our contact form.
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