A parent and child placement with Foster Portsmouth involves both a child and their birth parent (or parents) living with you in your home, usually on a short term basis. Some parents need a little additional support, advice and some supervision while they develop their parenting skills including feeding, routines and interaction with the child. This could be due to their young age, concerns about their own self-care or wellbeing, living with learning difficulties, requiring a place of safety or simply that they don’t have any local family able to help.
People like Imogen* and her one year-old son Matthew*, who lives part of the week with his father, who were looking for a new placement over the summer. 17-year-old Imogen, who is expecting her second baby this November, is smart, funny and chatty. Imogen needs some guidance and support during this life-changing time, empowering her to make positive decisions, develop her childcare skills, and ensure the children’s well-being now and in the future.
Experienced foster carer, Jo Austin shared: “I have provided short term, respite and emergency foster care for children, sibling groups, teenagers with autism, and five mothers with their babies. They were all challenging yet rewarding in their own unique ways.”
Jo continued: “The mothers with babies were very interesting. It was these placements that taught me the most about attachment disorder and how it develops while witnessing the sometimes poor interaction and parenting skills that resulted in stressful, hypervigilant babies who rarely settled in their mother’s care. I was able to help mothers who were able to learn to be better parents and ultimately to become independent family units in their chosen communities.”
Foster Portsmouth’s parent & child placements enable the critical development of the bond formed in the early stages, provides a nurturing environment facilitating the family staying together rather than the child having to be placed alone, and ensures the parent/s can stay local to work, education, friends or family. Placements will usually involve the mother and her baby, but they could also include the child’s father or an older child up to the age of two if a need has been identified when the child is a little older.
One mother who benefited from Jo’s care and support was Charlotte* who came to stay over a three month period with 2-day-old Oliver*. Jo, who stayed in touch with Charlotte and attended her wedding a year later, was able to provide Charlotte with the support she needed at that time and which ultimately ensured that Charlotte and Oliver returned home and enabled the family to stay together. 29-year-old Charlotte wrote to Jo: “Thank you every so much for everything you have done and all the support you have all given us to make it possible for Oliver to come home.”
These placements can be intensive, and foster carers doing this work need good communication skills and the confidence to monitor and assess parenting potential. You’ll also need a spare bedroom big enough to accommodate a bed and cot. You’ll receive excellent, local training and 24/7 support from our specialist social worker and expert fostering team, as well as through our mentoring scheme and the Mockingbird Programme, and competitive fees and allowances.
Jo concluded: “Seeing [young people] learning to heal and form healthy, loving attachments and relationships is the most rewarding part of fostering for me. If the time is right for you then go for it. You have nothing to lose but very much to gain. My life has been so much more enriched and colourful for all the experiences I’ve had with fostering.”
The council welcomes all enquiries about fostering. This could be a short or long term placement for a child or siblings until they’re ready to live independently or be reunited with family, support for unaccompanied minors or children with a disability, supported lodgings to develop their independent living skills, these parent and baby placements, or respite care.
Anyone aged 21+ with a spare bedroom could foster with Foster Portsmouth regardless of their age, gender, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, marital or work status, or whether they rent or own their own home.
If you can support, guide and empower vulnerable parents with the care of their child in a safe and caring home, and have relevant skills and experience, then you could provide parent and child foster care helping to put the parent on the right path to raising a contented and healthy child.
Learn how you can make a difference to their lives… and yours.
To enquire about fostering with Foster Portsmouth, or to arrange a 1:1 with one of our experienced team or existing foster carers, please fill in our contact form below, call 023 9283 4071 or email email@example.com.
*Names changed and photo contains models to protect identities.