This is particularly appealing to those who want to foster a baby and can also provide support to an infant’s mother at the same time.
Mother and baby foster care placements are primarily for the benefit of the mother and at Capstone, we promote and nurture the bond between parent and baby rather than foster carer and baby. When a mother has a baby it can be a difficult experience and extra help is often needed - but adequate support is may not be available from her family or friends. A mother’s needs can be heightened if she is young, vulnerable, susceptible to mental health issues such as post-natal depression, or has a disability that affects her ability to look after her child.
Many foster carers who support parent and child fostering placements have had their own children and grandchildren, meaning that they can draw from their own family experiences and skills, to support a parent to look after their child.
When a foster carer supports a parent and child placement, they simultaneously ensure the needs of the child are met and encourage the parent to develop the skills to look after their infant. The foster carer will keep logs about the progress of the parent and child, allowing local authorities to assess whether the parent has the ability to look after the child, or if the baby should be in foster care. In the past, placement in residential family centres was often the solution for this transition period in a baby’s life. In some cases, the decision to make such an arrangement comes as a request of the court.
Parent and child placement in a foster home is a more focused way of providing a safe family atmosphere for the infant along with an up-close method of assessing the parent’s responsibility and capacity to care for the child. The mother and baby placement in a structured environment usually lasts for three months while the parental ability to protect and care for the child in an appropriate manner is measured. If more time is needed, this can be extended for several more months.
There is a delicate balance in caring for the parent as well as the child. The foster carer offers guidance and assistance as the parent learns how to care for the child. The parent also needs to be guided to care for her child independently. This may involve providing an allowance to the parent. The mother and baby fostering allowance helps the parent in care to learn the basics of handling money and provides him or her with a taste of independence and life after foster care. This does not come out of the fostering allowance that the carer receives but from the benefits to which the parent is entitled.
The purpose of the parent and child fostering allowance is for the parent to learn how to financially handle the baby’s material needs. This means that the allowance has to be reasonable enough so that the parent is able to continue to provide for these basic needs once they are able to live on their own with the baby.
Decisions about the length of time the parent and child remain in care and the financial arrangement regarding the parent’s allowance are determined by the carer, the parent, the young parent’s social work, the supervising social worker, and any other professionals that may be involved in arranging the mother and baby foster placement.
Foster carers enable a parent to learn how to be independent with supervision and training in the parenting skills that they need to thrive in life. Living with foster families, the parents and children will undergo assessments and meetings with social workers who monitor the health and welfare of the foster family in placement, both parents and babies.
If you are interested in fostering young mothers and babies, contact Capstone Foster Care for more information, or call us on 0800 012 4004 or today. Alternatively, learn more about becoming a foster carer now.