What is parent and child fostering?
Parent and child fostering is all about helping vulnerable parents to develop the confidence and skills they need to provide appropriate care to their child – while supporting local authorities to evaluate their ability to parent.
The role of a parent and child foster carer involves supporting an expectant mum or a vulnerable parent and their young child. This can be a mother or father, and sometimes both. Some may have a learning disability, which makes it hard for them to learn parenting skills. Or they may not have experienced a stable childhood themselves, which has impacted their ability to look after their own children.
Parent and child foster placements - sometimes referred to as ‘mother and baby foster placements’ - normally last around 12 weeks and tend to be quite intensive, so it’s a challenging and responsible role.
To support you, we provide 24-hour assistance and plenty of specialist training (in paediatric first aid, for example), as well as the guidance of social workers and specialist care professionals who work with you to achieve positive outcomes for the parent and child in your care.
Who is suitable for parent & child fostering?
Many of the vulnerable young mothers and fathers who need our help have not always received a stable, nurturing childhood, and therefore lack the skills and knowledge they need to care for their own child. Mother and baby placements give parents a chance to learn how to care for their child in a safe and nurturing home environment.
A mother and baby foster placement is a specialist fostering service that we provide to local authorities. While you don’t necessarily need to have raised your own children to provide parent and child foster care, you will need a minimum of 1 years’ experience in fostering or the equivalent in a related profession, such as:
- Health visitors
- Nursery workers
- Social care workers
There are also some additional practical requirements to make sure there’s a good amount of living space for the parent(s) and their child – this includes a large enough bedroom to fit a cot.
Foster carers will also need to keep a detailed daily record noting observations of the parent’s ability to respond to their baby’s needs, and how they manage the routine and any practical tasks. Therefore, you’ll need to be good at record keeping and report writing, and be able to speak confidently about their parenting ability at various professional meetings which might include giving evidence in court.
Other types of fostering
Could you support a young person in care through their crucial teenage years?
Welcoming a child at short notice who's often distressed - usually a night or two.
We're looking for foster parents who can care for children with a range of disabilities.
Giving a child a stable, loving home when they can't return to their birth family.
In Scotland, a short-term placement is called Interim care and can last up to 2 years.
Caring for a child for more than 2 years and often up until they turn eighteen.
In Scotland, the local authority may apply for permanence if a child won't be returning home.
Respite Foster Care
Caring for a child who's placed with another foster family to give them time to rest.
We urgently need more foster parents with the time, energy and space to care for siblings.
Caring for young people who have arrived in the UK without their parents to seek asylum.
Frequently asked questions
Is the Fostering process different?
The initial process to become a parent and child foster carer is no different to any other type of fostering – the assessment essentially ensures that you can offer a safe and nurturing home environment for a child to thrive.
However, there is some additional training that you’ll need to undertake before a parent and their baby or young child are placed with you. If you have no previous experience in a related profession, you’ll also need to complete 12 months of fostering first to gain vital skills and knowledge of working with looked after children.
What if you have concerns about the safety of the mother or baby?
The health and wellbeing of those we care for is paramount and so any concerns around the safety of the mother or baby – no matter how big or small - should be raised with your social worker as soon as possible.
What happens to the mother and baby after the placement?
Once the assessment has concluded (usually around 12 weeks) and if positive, the foster parent will either support the mother and her baby to move in with family (especially common when fostering teenage mums who have the support of their family), or independent or supported living.
Sadly, it’s not always a positive outcome for some families and it may be determined that the baby or child will need to go onto adoption. In these instances, the mother will move out of the foster home and their baby or child will continue living with the foster parent until they’ve completed the adoption process.
How long is a mother and baby foster placement?
A mother and baby foster placement usually lasts around 12 weeks while the assessment is being completed. However, they can be longer if needed or cut short if any safeguarding concerns arise.
Can't find what you're looking for?
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.
Your local team
Find contact details for your local office team. We’re always happy for you to pop-in and chat.