Cumbria County Council’s fostering service has launched a campaign to recruit foster carers who can welcome a vulnerable parent and their baby into their home.
By caring for a parent and their child, the aim is that you will use skills you have acquired as a parent or carer yourself, to model positive parenting and give the family the best possible chances of staying together and flourishing.
Foster carer Terri Forbes, of Barrow, has fostered with the council for more than 20 years and specialises in ‘parent and child’ fostering.
Terri said: “I started fostering because I love spending time with children and, as a single mum, saw fostering as a way of helping children and at the same time being able to stay at home with my own young children.
“I fostered children under six when I first started and then I also took on a long-term placement of a boy and girl aged eight and 10.
“Then one day I got a call asking if I could take a mother and baby. It went really well and I have continued to do parent and child fostering ever since.
“You need to have a lot of patience to do this type of fostering, as you are being a parent to the mother, as well as the baby.
“It is all about showing parents how to be good parents, not doing it for them.
“I absolutely love it, it is the type of fostering placement I would choose over any other, simply because I want to help keep families together and give every parent the chance to take their baby home.”
Foster carer Tracy Fowler, of Allerdale, has been fostering for 10 years and offering parent and child placements for six years.
Tracy said: “It’s been completely different to mainstream fostering and all the parent and child placements have been different – some of the mums were just 17 while the older ones were in their 20s or even early 30s.
“It’s very different to what I first expected because I work more with the parent than the baby; helping mum to keep the baby safe and with her own issues too.
“The placements are all consuming and you need to be aware of what’s going on 24/7, even overnight. It is intense and anyone thinking of this type of fostering needs to consider that.
“They need to be able to share their space for the length of the contract with mum, which could be six months or longer.
“I enjoy all the placements as you get a great sense of satisfaction from knowing you have done everything possible to keep baby safe while giving mum the opportunity to prove her parenting abilities.”
To be a parent and child foster carer, you will need to have positive parenting or caring experience, a spare bedroom and to be at home full-time.
People will receive training, support and a weekly allowance of £700.
An information event will be held on Thursday April 29 from 1pm to 2pm on Zoom. Visit https://zoom.us/j/99082558447
For more information, call 0303 333 1216.