Supporting Young Parents
Good parenting involves providing proper care, nourishment, love, support, fun and good boundaries. If you’d never experienced that, how could you be expected to provide it? That’s where our parent and child foster carers come into the picture. They have the skills and experience to be good parents and the ability, training and support to share those skills with vulnerable young parents. If you’ve ever wanted to help a young family to stay together and thrive, this is your golden opportunity!
- Observation skills – we need you to look at the whole picture here. How does the child react to the parent in everyday settings? Is the child relaxed and happy? How does the parent interact with the child? What about the parent’s relationships outside your home? All these things and more will contribute to assessment of the future for parent and child.
- Sound parenting skills – ideally, you will have brought up your own child or children, but this isn’t essential. What is essential is that you know how to keep your parent and child placement safe, enforce reasonable boundaries and offer a secure and reliable home.
- Ability to guide and teach those parenting skills – leading by example is really important, as is offering simple, straightforward guidance. It’s up to the parent to look after their child and, all being well, they will do so when they leave your home. Your role is to show them how to achieve independence.
- Patience and a calm approach – it’s quite likely your parent and child placement will have come to you from a fairly fragmented home life. Hostility, neglect and abuse may have been the ‘norm’. Your calm, measured and relaxed home will reduce stress, enabling them to settle and learn.
- Ability to establish clear boundaries and stick to them – a fragmented home life often means your parent and child placement will not have experienced boundaries. It is important to ensure your parent placement knows she or he is responsible for the care of their own child.
- Ability to keep clear written records of your observations - you will need to maintain regular, accurate and factual written accounts of your parent and child's interactions.
Fostering a parent and child is unlike other fostering, because the parent is responsible for the baby or child’s care. As a parent and child foster carer, your role is to advise and support them to do it.
From making up formula feeds, to choosing the right nappies, to supervising bath time; you will be there to help that new young parent care for their baby.
But it’s not just young parents. It’s not unusual for us to be asked to provide support for a mother in her thirties whose previous babies have been taken in to care. Now, with the support of a parent and child foster carer, she can learn the skills to keep her new baby safe and living with her. Although rare, there are occasions when a dad finds himself in need of the guidance and support from a parent and child foster carer.
Placements of this type are short term. During the placement, we will ask you to record daily observations of the parent’s child care skills and share these observations with the parent and the parent is encouraged to record their comments too. The observations will contribute to the decision making when the time comes to plan for the future of the parent and child.
Seeing him develop and grow and form an attachment with his mum has been the most rewarding thing. It is very satisfying knowing that I have helped a young family go onto independence and live safely together.