Parent and Child Fostering: What’s It All About?
21st June 2021
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Parent-child fostering, sometimes known as mother-baby fostering, is when a carer provides a safe and secure environment for both a parent and their child, teaching parents how to meet their child’s needs and supervising them as they learn how to deal with parenthood.


As a specialist type of foster care, parent-child fostering can be complicated. Here are five things you need to know:


1.    You Help a Family, Not Just an Individual


Unlike other types of foster care, parent-child fostering means helping more than one person. Not only are you providing a safe and nurturing environment for a child, but you’re also guiding the parent as they learn how to become a parent.


While parent-child fostering most often involves a mother and her baby, it can also involve a father and child, a mother, father, and their baby, or sometimes more than one child.


2.    You Offer Guidance and Support

In parent-child placements, parents may be dealing with substance withdrawal or the trauma of domestic abuse. Perhaps they are very young themselves or had a difficult childhood and lack an understanding of what good parenting looks like. These individuals can gain a tremendous amount from the support, supervision, and guidance of an experienced caregiver.

A foster carer provides both a room and storage space where the parent and child feel safe. They also assist in the daily tasks of childcare, prompting parents where necessary but aiming to encourage parents to look after their child independently.


3.    You Observe and Monitor

Parent-child placements often involve an assessment. As a carer, you’ll usually need to provide written reports to help local authorities decide whether the child should stay in the parent’s care. You will be trained to observe and monitor the parent and their relationship with their child discreetly.


4.  There are Three Types

Parent-child fostering can take one of three forms: 

  • Pre-birth placements - these placements are to help young mothers or parents prepare for the birth of their child, equipping them with the skills needed to take care of their baby.
  • Parenting support placements - these are for parents who need help learning how to care for their child and perhaps a safe place to live for a short while.
  • Assessment placements - these are the same as parenting support placements, except they also involve the foster carer completing a report of the parent’s ability to look after their child.

It is generally the case that parent-child families will not be taken out of their local area. For example, a mother and baby from Luton would typically be fostered in the Luton area, if possible.


5.    Placements Typically Last Around 12 Weeks 

One of the shorter forms of foster care, parent-child foster placements typically last around 12 weeks. However, they can be up to 26 weeks long. Local authorities may request to extend the placement if necessary.


Parent-Child Foster Care: Providing a Positive Beginning 

Like all foster care, parent-child fostering is about providing a safe and secure environment for vulnerable individuals. But what makes parent-child fostering particularly rewarding is that by stepping in to help families develop strong bonds from the outset, this type of placement has the potential to keep families together, stopping children from entering foster care in the first place.

You can read a diary from one of foster caring families here: What is it like to be a parent and child foster carer?

For further information about parent and child fostering, please speak to our recruitment team now.

Anchor Foster Care Providing Safety, Stability & Hope. Anchor Foster Care is a family run, independent, not-for-profit organisation proactively working to provide the right kind of care and support to children and young people in our care.





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