Parent and child foster care is a specialised form of foster care. In the past, these were more commonly referred to as mother and baby placements. As a fostering category, parent and child foster care placements are in relatively short supply. But the need for them has been rising sharply.
In the past, they were referred to as mother and baby placements because they mostly involved the care of a teenage parent(s) and their baby. It was quite common for the teenager concerned to also have been a ‘looked after’ child. The goal was always to try and keep the mother and/or father together with their child. The nature of the demand for parent and child foster placements has been changing over time. Now, the category includes the placement of adults with their children. And it is fairly common for these arrangements to be put in place in the context of care proceedings. This has become an area of work increasingly specialist in nature. This is due to the complexity surrounding the legal status of both parent and child. And the unique nature of a situation where adult parents are living in the home of a foster carer.
Because there is a pressing need to address the needs of this group of people coming into foster care, some local authorities have responded by establishing specialist teams to manage this demand. In England, some independent fostering agencies (IFAs) are reporting that parent and child foster care cases are making up around ten per cent of their total referrals.
The types of parent and child foster care.
The type of placement can differ – assessment placements which tend to last between twelve and sometimes fourteen weeks. – here the foster carer will work as part of a team completing a report which examines in detail the ability of the parent to look after their child; pre-birth placements are put in place to provide the support to assist a parent in planning for the arrival of their child. The foster carer will guide them in understanding their own needs as well as the needs that their baby will have; parental support placements will be rearranged for parents who will require help in learning the basics of caring for an infant.
Carers who can sustain a parent and child foster placement will be helping a family to stay together. This is an experience of fostering which is uniquely rewarding. Areas of expertise that foster carers who work in this area will acquire cover: how to assess the parenting skills of the mother or father; an understanding of how parents form relationships with their children; how to provide the best support for a parent with a learning disability; the theory of forming attachments.
Further information for foster carers and social workers.
An excellent publication covering the many aspects of parent and child foster care is ‘Parent and Child Fostering – Good Practice Guide’ by Paul Adams and Elaine Dibben – consultants with CoramBAAF This is also a good reference for foster carers keen to build their knowledge and experience of this kind of fostering.
This is a seminal work – a guide which was produced following consultation with the Department for Education.
“An excellent resource, bringing together advice and good practice on parent and child foster care arrangements. It should be an invaluable tool for local authorities and fostering agencies developing parent and child services and is a wonderful example of the sector coming together to address practice issues and promote excellence.”
Tim Loughton MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families (2010-2012)
Train for parent and child foster placements with Rainbow.
Deciding to specialise in parent and child foster placements means that; once you are ‘Approved’ to foster, Rainbow will arrange tailored training. All foster carers need to commit to ongoing training. It’s important to appreciate that we view all our foster carers as professionals having the desire to improve their knowledge and understanding of fostering.
Generally, as a Rainbow foster carer, you will be given all the skills and training needed to make a difference in children’s lives. Many of our foster carers decide to access our specialist training – such as managing parent and child foster care.
In addition to the 3-day ‘Skills to Foster’ course which is obligatory for all applicants, throughout your fostering career you will benefit from a range of specialist therapeutic training courses. These are designed and delivered by experts in their fields and include – but are not limited to – Parent and Child Foster Care, Building Resilience, The Management of Complex Needs and Handling Issues of Attachment and Trauma.
As a large independent fostering agency (IFA) operating in Hampshire, London, Birmingham and Manchester, our local team members will always be on hand to help you. We are taking calls and answering any questions about foster care. There is plenty of information on our website – as well as the guidance we can email. And we can meet and progress your application ‘virtually’ via Skype as soon as you are ready.
As a foster carer, you will be entitled to a highly competitive allowance. You’ll also be entitled to other benefits such as tax relief. We encourage all our carers to be trained in fostering therapeutically which can bring enormous benefits. Especially in relation to safeguarding the stability of placements.
Please give us a call today on 020 8427 3355 or use our National Line – 0330 311 2845. You can also leave your details on our website: http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/contact/ And for the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus pandemic: how to stay safe, save lives protect the NHS and look after your family visit – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus And for interesting information on parent and child foster placements can be found at – https://www.gov.uk/becoming-foster-parent