Parent and child foster care is a specialized type of fostering. Foster carers at Rainbow know that they can request specific training so they can specifically provide parent and child foster care. There is an increasing need to find more foster carers able to support this type of placement. In this fostering setting, carers are trained to offer support and guidance that enables a parent to acquire good parenting skills and capabilities. The referrals for parent and child placements have many common elements. All too frequently, they paint a picture of the extreme vulnerability of the young parent. This means that their baby can be at significant risk of not receiving appropriate care at a critical stage of its life. These young parents have often come from dysfunctional and chaotic family backgrounds. Witnessing domestic violence may have been part of their experience. They may also have been exposed to settings where alcohol and substance misuse featured as a part of everyday life. And this means that in all too many instances, they have been traumatised and are having to deal with their own mental health issues. The statistics show that many young parents have experienced learning difficulties.
It is clear that providing parent and child foster care is going to call upon particular skills and life experiences. By no means all carers have raised families of their own. This is one area of fostering where being able to call upon the experiences of looking after your own children from birth will be helpful – but not essential. This kind of placement is unique as the carer has to provide practical and emotional support for a young adult as well as ensuring care given for the baby will meet all its needs. This means striking an important balance which is about enabling the young parent to develop the instincts and abilities to care for her/his own infant. It means the parent and child foster carer is required to make a continuous assessment of the mother’s parenting skills. All too often these are almost non-existent or at the very least minimal. And this means the role of the carer is very much concerned with transferring knowledge whilst being able to assess how well the parent is learning to respond positively to their child’s needs. The assessment is fundamental to the placement and the primary aim is to help the mother to recognise that she needs to place the needs of her baby ahead of anyone else’s. And this will mean learning to be organised so that the parent keeps important appointments for the baby – such as those with health visitors.
Parent and child foster care placements typically last between three to six months. During this time there will be a high support package assigned to the placement. There will also be regular visits to monitor how the parent is progressing. During this crucial parenting assessment process, other professionals experienced in different areas i.e attachment issues may lend support. The parent and child foster carer will keep a detailed evidenced-based report throughout the duration of the placement. This information will be shared with the parent, his/her social worker, the baby’s social worker, the court guardian and the solicitor of the parent. Ultimately a decision will have to be made as to whether the baby can remain with the parent or be adopted. This means that most commonly the assessment ‘pathway’ is split into two. The first aiming toward rehabilitation enabling the mother to live an independent life in the community with her baby; the second recognising that the baby will have to be matched to an adopter. Any other reports – and there may be a number from other professionals – made about the placement will be gathered and submitted to the court, together with the supervising social worker’s court statement. A court will usually be involved because when a baby is living with a mother who is ‘Looked After’, it is the mother who has the legal responsibility whilst the foster carer has a duty of care. The parent and child foster care placement is often the alternative to the parent and baby being cared for in a residential unit. Again, this usually results from a court referral – but not always. It remains up to the local authority or the court to determine if it’s necessary for a placement to be made. There is a considerable difference in the cost. A twelve week residential placement can cost up to £60,000 as compared to an average of £750 in a foster care placement.
Ideally, with the help and guidance of the parent and child foster carer, the mother/father of the baby will be judged competent to look after their baby within the community. This is a good outcome but the parent will continue requiring a high level of support. But it will be what is in the best interests of the baby which will determine the outcome. And this may be adoption.
Train to be a parent and child foster carer with Rainbow.
As should be clear, this type of fostering is specialised. If the idea of it appeals, we hope you will apply to train to foster with us. When you do, we would like to know if this might be a preference for you. Our promise is that at Rainbow, we will commit to providing the highest quality training to support all your ambitions. At Rainbow, we are often asked about the level of experience and specific skills required to become a foster carer. There are always reasons why people become interested in fostering and these will usually involve direct experience they have had with children out young people. We look to establish the level of experience and understanding you have either professionally, or with your own children – or with youngsters in your wider family or network of friends.
Rainbow Fostering was established in 1998 and has been rated ‘Outstanding” in all areas by Ofsted. We are a highly responsive agency well able to adapt to the changing and unprecedented circumstances coronavirus has brought about. We have taken steps to make sure we are able to support anyone wishing to apply to foster immediately. Our expert teams of foster care advisors – working safely and remotely – will take calls and answer any questions about foster care. There is plenty of information on our website – as well as guidance we can email. And we can meet you ‘virtually’ via Skype to get your application underway quickly.
Give us a call today on 020 8427 3355 or use our National Line – 0330 311 2845 for further information. You can also leave your details with a message and time for us to phone you if you prefer: http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/contact/
At Rainbow Fostering, we encourage people to foster from all walks of life. If you’re married, single, female or male – a homeowner or renting, straight, gay, lesbian trans or bisexual – our socialist recruitment team would like to give you help and guidance. Most importantly, you need to have a genuine interest and motivation to support a child or young person.
And for the most up-to-date information on the coronavirus pandemic: how to stay safe, save lives and protect the NHS visit – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus And for an interesting blog, we can recommend – https://rainbowfostering.co.uk/foster-care-understanding-autism/