Parent and Child Fostering with Capstone
A parent and child placement is a specialist type of fostering where a parent and their own child, often a young mother and baby, come to stay in your home to have extra support and guidance.
There are many reasons for a parent and child placement but most often, a mum is having difficulties looking after their new baby. They may not have experienced great parenting themselves or may have been in care themselves and so need an experienced parental figure to help them become a better parent.In other cases, the parent may have a learning difficulty or mental health challenges that cause them to have difficulties becoming a parent.
At Capstone, our parent and child foster carers equip parent/s with the support and tools they need to become a nurturing parent.The aim of these placements is to keep families together.
Capstone Foster care is an Independent Fostering Agency that provides “parent and child” fostering placements. This means that Local Authorities can commission an independent and non-judgemental assessment of a parent/s ability to parent their child. The assessment takes place within an approved foster carer’s home over a three-month period. The foster carers are trained specifically in this type of placement, with particular focus on Observation and Recording. (see details below)
After an initial placement planning meeting, there will be regular reviews at two weekly intervals, chaired by Capstone. As well as the foster carers, parent/s, the assessing social worker and Local Authority; the child’s Guardian, Health Visitor and any other professions involved with the Parent/s and child/ren will be invited. Minutes from the meeting will be provided to those attending and any other interested parties by leave of the court. At the 6 – 8 week point an Interim Report will be provided and within two weeks after the 12 week point a Final Report will be compiled. The report will be clear in its recommendations.
The foster home will provide a safe and secure environment in which the parent/s can feel empowered to work towards a positive outcome. The foster carers will build a positive working relationship that allows for a realistic assessment through working openly and honestly; the parent/s will be able to build on positive aspects of their parenting that will enable them to gain confidence. The parent/s will be informed daily about what is being recorded by the foster carer by reading and signing the carer’s recordings.
The assessment will be undertaken by a qualified, skilled and experienced Capstone social worker or Local Authority social worker, who will meet every week with the parent/s to undertake the assessment. The assessment will follow the ‘Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Families’ (Department of Heath).
The placement also provides:
- 24hr duty service cover
- A baby monitor system if required
- Parent and child carer support groups facilitated by a child psychologist
- Capstone assessor’s attendance at any meetings and reviews where required
- Attendance at Court where directed
- Parent and Child Intervention Worker who will assess parent’s capacity to budget, shop, cook.
- Supervised contact for absent parent with recording available on request.
- Ongoing community based support and assessment where it is deemed beneficial to the parent available on request. Bespoke package of support to meet the needs of the parent and child.
We recognise that assessment is an intervention. The act of being observed and knowing that a record is being maintained by the carer, is going to impact on the parent interacting with their baby/child and our carers are sensitive to this and to the dysregulation that may result. An effective assessment can only be conducted in an environment, which the parent experiences as non-threatening – so therapeutic skills are needed here to create the safety necessary for the parent to be the best they can.
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Capstone will prepare the court report re: the assessment, this is negotiated at the time of placement and undertaken by qualified, skilled and experienced Social Workers. The assessment is evidence-based.
- It is ordered by the court or LA to determine whether the parent can provide good-enough care for her/his child
- Capstone Foster Care provides comprehensive support and supervision for their carers through their team of supervising social workers and therapists. The assessing social workers will meet with both the carer/s and the parent/s every week to undertake the assessment. They will also be available between times if required and there will always be more frequent phone support.
- All Capstone foster carers will have had initial therapeutic training in offering themselves as an attachment figure with any child/young person in their care so the care they offer the parent in their home environment is going to model a way of caring that the parent may choose to integrate into their own parenting
- We recognise the Local Authorities need for evidence-based information so we have therefore ensured that our carers have been trained to make concise, factual, non-judgemental reports on what they observe and experience alongside the parent.
Capstone’s parent and child foster carers have undertaken specialist training in this area (3 days). Fundamental to this is Recording and Observation in Parent and Child Arrangements and includes:
- The critical role of observation and recording in child welfare
- What parents bring with them: being observed and establishing a ‘baseline’
- What are we looking for? ‘Good enough’ parenting, attachment and practical skills.
- Observation and experiencing the world of the child
- The impact of our own biographies on the observation process
- The art of recording: separating fact, opinion and feelings; recording sequences and detailed interaction; what you see and what you don’t see
- Managing the emotional impact of the work.
- Understanding the Assessment Framework Triangle (DoH).
The training prepares Capstone’s foster carers to undertake this specialist placement, offering the mother the best opportunity to succeed.
Community Outreach/ Ongoing Assessment Post Placement
Capstone can continue working with parents who are successful in the protected environment of a placement with our foster carers, and an ongoing community based assessment/monitoring can be offered to determine whether the level of parenting is sustained in the parent’s own environment. Bespoke packages can be agreed on an individual basis, including some ongoing coaching and modelling, and some announced and unannounced visits. The duration and frequency are determined at the exit planning stage, with a gradual reduction to appropriately monitor progress and maintain safeguarding. This has proved to be very useful to parents who have already established effective working relationships with the team.
Feedback from one of Capstone’s parent and Child foster carers:
First and foremost, it is a privilege to take into our home and family, a parent or parents and their child or children, having the opportunity to help, support, guide them on their way to becoming an independent family.
The role obviously carries with it a huge amount of responsibility, and the experience can be a whole roller coaster of emotions throughout the length of placement.
Aside from the practical requirements such as being at home full time and having a spare room, good observational skills are essential as is the ability to record what you see and hear without any prejudice or judgement. It really is a 24/7 commitment for 12 weeks.
We are extremely well supported with Capstone Foster Care and really do feel like part of a team, working together to ensure the best outcome for the child.
Facilitating a parent and child placement is both rewarding and challenging and if you feel it is something you could do, then I would encourage you to give it a go, we did and are currently on around our 9th placement!
Thinking of fostering a parent and child? Contact Capstone Foster Care for more information on 0800 012 4004, or simply click here.
By Gareth Griffiths, Area Manager for Capstone (Devon/Cornwall)
Hi, my Name is Gareth Griffiths, Area Manager for Capstone (Devon/Cornwall). I have been asked to provide a brief biography and article for the knowledge centre based on my specialism in “parent and child” fostering.
I am a qualified Social Worker and have been involved in these types of placements for the last 13 years and have continued to develop and innovate this aspect of fostering, in line with current legislation and local authority need.
There are many, many families who require these placements so there is a real need to recruit more parent and child foster carers.
My passion is to continue to provide and develop services that enhance the chances of families staying together. To achieve this I feel that parents need to be given the opportunity to evidence that they can effect change. The best way for them to do this is through placements with foster carers that can offer support, (modelling and coaching) and guidance in a safe environment.
I hope you find the information useful and that it inspires you to take up the challenge.