Parent and Child Placements
- What are parent and child placements?
- Why are parent and child placements needed?
- What can you hope to achieve through a parent and child placement? What are the aims of this type of specialist placement.
Parent and child placements (formerly mother and baby placements)
Parent and child fostering used to be known as “mother and baby placements”. This is a wonderful and specialist type of fostering where you have the opportunity to give a home, on a short-term basis, to usually one parent and their child or children. It’s a chance to help keep some families together or help inform a process that means children are cared for safely by others.
This is a fostering role where you can do it temporarily, and placements are typically 12 weeks long. Some people might register as short-break carers and parent and child foster parents so that they can fit fostering around work and other life commitments.
Parent and child placements can be needed for a number of reasons:
- Because the parent needs some help in building the skills they need to parent with their child under supervision at the same time. You might need to be their mentor to help them learn and build the right skills.
- There might be concerns about a parent’s ability to safely take care of their child. They might have had a child removed before because of neglect or abuse. They could have had difficulties with caring for themselves or abusing substances. They might be very young themselves and might have had challenges in their own lives.
- You might need to support parenting or give full parenting care to the child while you support the parent(s). Or you might need to observe how the parent(s) are doing.
Parent and child placements give a chance to closely support and, as needed, support parenting, to inform children’s services and, if necessary, a court’s decisions about how to best support the family or whether or not children need to be looked after by other people.
Quite often, where there are concerns about parents’ ability to parent, they’ve experienced their own childhood trauma. Some have been in care themselves and might still be working through some of the trauma they’ve experienced or might not have a brilliant model of parenting to draw on to parent their own child.
Often, you’ll have one or both parents in placement with you as well as a child or children, but sometimes you might have them in placement during pregnancy to help make sure the parent(s) have the skills they need for when the baby is born.
Because you have one or more parents and children placed together, the dynamics are very different to fostering a child or young person alone. We’ll help prepare you with specialist training and coaching so you can manage these dynamics well. As a parent and child foster carer, you’ll work to:
- Help build the self-confidence and self-esteem of parent(s). It’s stating the obvious that living with another adult as they observe and help parent your child can feel really unusual and scary, and there can be all sorts of feelings of helplessness, lack of competence, and low self-worth some parents might experience. Part of your role is to help build self-confidence and self-esteem and ensure that whatever the outcome, parents and their children have the best possible experience they can.
- On a really practical level, you might help build people’s practical skills that they need to parent a child. These can include making and working to a budget, looking for work around childcare or building skills for later work, and keeping the house clean and tidy.
- You’ll help contribute to other professional’s assessments. Your recordings and feedback will inform the social worker’s assessment and the courts.
Like all types of fostering, this can be a lot of hard work. And again, like all types of fostering, it can be hugely rewarding! You have a really important role to play in helping keep children safe, and you can help families stay together. You can see parent self-esteem and self-confidence develop and the impact this has on their parenting and their child up close.
At Changing Futures Fostering, we’re all about providing our foster parents with the support they need to really make a difference in a vulnerable child’s life. If you’re interested in learning more about the fostering training we offer, please click here to contact us, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk to our brilliant fostering team! Alternatively, feel free to call us on 01429 363 127.