In the UK, about six percent of the children in foster care are under the age of one. While this might sound like a low number, the reality is that this means there are approximately 4,000 babies in the foster care system. Often children under one are short term placements because they are waiting for their adoptions to be finalised or waiting to be able to go home to their birth parents.
Fostering babies may sound like an easy job. Babies don’t have behavioural problems. The hardest thing will be letting the baby go when the time comes. Babies are often fostered because the local authorities removed them from their parents due to substance abuse. Infants removed for reasons of drug or alcohol misuse may have long-term health problems and learning disabilities.
The allowance for babies pays for the food and clothing and household items that are necessary to ensure the comfort of the little one. If extra support is needed for medical reasons, it is readily available.
If the infants in foster care are in the process of transitioning into their adoptive families or preparing to live with their birth families, the foster family must meet with the adoptive or birth parents on a regular basis to prepare for the transition. An experienced social worker is a part of the transition team.
Sometimes the mum is barely past being a young girl and not ready or able to care for an infant by herself. Sometimes she is older but still not ready for the responsibility. In either case, she needs guidance and acceptance. If she is part of the fostering process and living in the home as well, as the parent, she must have her own bedroom. Carers who take on this particular task are especially trained to do so. In such ‘parent and child’ fostering, one or both parents are taken into care along with the child.
The single most important part of your job is to provide the necessities of life and love to the baby. You need to be in good health. A baby can take up a great deal of your time as well as interrupt your sleep.
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At Capstone Foster Care, parent and child placements are more typical than fostering babies and we provide specialised training for parent and child. This type of placement involves the mother or the father or both parents being placed in foster care in conjunction with their baby, child, or children. The major benefit of the parent and child placement is that the child’s safety is assured while the parent’s skills are assessed.
There is no quiet time guaranteed during school hours as there would be with older children where you can catch up on your chores. Meetings with parents who are anxious to take their babies home are time consuming.
If you are thinking about fostering and want to foster babies only, please bear in mind that Capstone Foster Care does have limitations on fostering for families who have children under two years old. Also, Capstone requires that your home is a non-smoking home.