What is it?
‘Parent and Child’ fostering placements were previously known as ‘Mother and Baby’. This type of placement provides an alternative option for Children’s Services and the legal system to use, rather than taking a child in to care on their own or placing the family in a residential unit.
The foster carer has the child and their birth parent (or parents) living with them in their home, in order to help improve parenting skills. You will therefore need a spare room large enough to accommodate a bed and cot. This enables the birth parent and the child to stay together, increasing the likelihood that they can bond in those crucial early months. It also allows the child and their parent to remain in their local area, offering them stability and consistency in their lives.
In most cases it will be a young mother and her baby who will be placed, however this isn't always the case. The requirement for help may also be identified when the child is slightly older, usually up to the age of two. Many different types of parents need help, supervision and guidance in their parenting. Sometimes there may have been drug or alcohol abuse, or learning difficulties or mental health problems. It may be that the parents do not have family in the local area that can support them, or the family is not in a position to help.
For foster carers, these placements can be exciting and challenging, and draw upon a specific set of skills. They can be exceptionally rewarding as early intervention can make a huge amount of difference and keep children out of the care system and with their family.
The role of Parent and Child foster carers
Foster carers do not provide direct parental care to the child, unless this is part of a previously agreed plan. Instead they help the parent to develop their own skills, by demonstrating and role-modelling. You may oversee tasks such as making up feeds, establishing bedtime routines or interacting with the child, as well as setting clear boundaries so the parent knows they are responsible for their child.
The foster carer also has an important role observing and accurately recording how the parent looks after the child, and this will help Children’s Services in making decisions about the child’s longer term plan. Read some real life experiences of our Parent and Child foster carers in our case studies.
Working closely with a specialist social worker, a Parent and Child foster carer will offer encouragement as well as assess parenting skills with a view to changing inappropriate or negative behaviour. The ideal outcome is that, at the end of the placement, the birth parent will be able to parent their child in a suitable, independent manner. Foster carers will work with Children’s Services to identify what support and specialist services the parent and their child will need to access in the future to ensure continued stability and improvement.
We offer an extensive training programme to foster carers to ensure that you have all the skills you will need, as well as providing 24 hour back up through our 'Out of Hours' team, in case there are any emergencies.
For information on the financial support that's available for becoming a Parent and Child foster carer, please refer to the Fostering Finance document
Looking for a career change?
As you need to be available on a full time basis to offer placements, the role is ideal for those looking for a career change or who are currently not in work but have relevant skills or experience.
You will need to provide a safe and secure home environment as well as have good communication skills, both written and verbal, resilience and patience, enthusiasm and the ability to guide and support.
How do I apply?
To receive more information, please complete our Fostering Enquiry Form. Please mention you have a specific interest in Parent and Child placements in the ‘What attracts you to fostering?’ section. Alternatively, you can read our leaflet on fostering, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0800 5 191818.
Fostering Enquiry Form
You will need to complete the usual foster carer application process in order to take on Parent and Child fostering placements which takes a maximum of eight months.