Wednesday 27 January 2016

“Foster carers work contributes not only to society now, but in the decades that will come as the young people in their care grow into independence and, in turn, become more positive adults who give back to society.”

The Fostering Network - January 2016

It’s fair to say that lack of proper parenting is like an ‘itch-scratch’ cycle.  

Children who don’t have the benefit of care, discipline, routine and stability from their parents, go on to have children themselves but don’t have the experience to provide their children with care, discipline, routine and stability and so the situation goes on. Foster carers have the privilege of changing that cycle and their positive influence goes on through the generations.  

A generous amount of the 9,000 additional foster homes will be needed to provide care for young people who, through a huge variety of circumstances, find themselves parents to a baby or young child with negligible skills to provide proper care. Foster carers providing them with the support they need, are known as ‘parent and child’ carers and, quite literally, they change lives.

What will the parent and child placement be like?

They can come from all backgrounds, with all sorts of issues. On occasions, it may be due to neglect, it may be to ensure the parent and child are safe from the influence of another person or people, it can be due to mild learning disabilities and it could be due to substance abuse.  Usually, the parent is a teenager but, sometimes, they can be a little older.

So, who would make a great parent and child foster carer? 

You, probably! Perhaps you’ve raised your own family or your career has involved child care, baby care or similar. Perhaps you’ve been a teacher or classroom assistant or would like a change of career from nursing or working in a children’s day nursery. Perhaps you’ve been a health visitor or looked after babies and children for your friends and family. The list is endless and the training we give you will expand on your skills to make you a really great parent and child foster carer.

What other skills will I need?

Aside from your child care skills, you will need to be patient, organised and have quite firm boundaries. When caring for a parent and child, your main day to day focus will be helping the parent (sometimes it’s the dad, mostly it’s the mum, occasionally it can be both!) to provide proper care for the baby or young child. It can be helping them with the basics like sterilising bottles and bathing their baby through to more challenging issues like keeping the baby safe from harm and knowing when to seek medical help. Foster carers who provide parent and child placements will need to have good observational and record keeping skills as their written observations will influence decisions over the future of both the parent and baby.  As with all fostering, the aim is, where safe and possible, to work with families to keep them together.

Your role as a parent and child carer may well sit alongside your approval to care for children and young people of all ages, but you will be given additional training and support to reflect your parent and child foster carer status.

Who can help me become a parent and child foster carer?

We can! We offer excellent training and support. That combined with a generous allowance and the knowledge you are working with a fostering agency that is consistently awarded ‘Outstanding’ status by Ofsted, will reassure you that you, your family and your parent and child foster placement have the best chance of success. 

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