In 2017 Action for Children received 300 referrals for young parents needing foster homes where they can learn to care for their new child, in the London and Kent areas.
Sarah Carter, Foster Carer Recruiter at Action for Children says “Many new parents don’t have the support network they need to help them navigate parenting. Parent and child fostering provides access to hands-on guidance, enabling them to learn to raise a child, whether it’s needed for a few weeks or 18 months.”
Action for Children’s parent and child fostering aims to keep the parent and child together, with a foster carer to help guide them in their parenting skills. The parents are given a safe place to live and a more positive start, often enabling parents and babies to stay together long-term as they move on from the foster home. These parents are typically aged 15-17 with children aged under three, sometimes the parents can be older, but equally in need of help.
One young parent said “I didn’t realise it would be so hard looking after a baby, it really helped living with a family for a little while”.
Midwives and maternity nurses make excellent foster carers for expectant and new mums, as they can provide support before, during and after the birth. Midwives can also provide a professional assessment of the skills the new mum has developed in caring for her infant, as well as ensuring the child is healthy and flourishing.
Fostering as a vocation is both rewarding and challenging, and Action for Children recognise the demands placed on their foster carers to supervise and care for vulnerable young people and their children. They are committed to providing on-going specialised training, a dedicated supervising social worker, and support is available to their carers 24/7. Foster carers also receive fees that reflect the professional role required of them, they would also be provided with equipment, including cot and baby monitor.
The foster carers who carry out parent and child fostering are fully committed to the role, as one carer said, “being a foster carer for a parent and child is hard work, after the first one I wasn’t sure it was for us. But then little Aimee and her mum came to us it was such a different experience, and now we wouldn’t do any other fostering”.
If you’re thinking of enquiring to be a Parent and Child Foster Carer you should have a spare bedroom and be available to offer one-to-one support throughout the day and night to an inexperienced parent. Action for Children desperately need foster carers for parents in the London and Kent areas, as well as foster homes for other vulnerable children and young people.
For more information visit the Action for Children website www.actionforchildren.org.uk or call 0845 200 5162.