Parent and Child foster care are the difference families need.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Parent and Child Foster Care is a specialist type of foster care and is in extremely high demand to give parents a helping hand when needed. Parent & Child foster carers provide practical and emotional support for new parents and their babies. The average length of Parent & Child placements is usually about 12 weeks; it aims to support parents and their children to transition into independent living as a family.

Many women face pregnancy alone and feel vulnerable, especially after their baby is born. Sadly, some new parents did not have strong parenting or peer role models to influence them. As a result, these parents need emotional support in learning how to care for their children. Any new mum without a supportive network of family and friends to help will struggle. She needs help. And this is where Parent & Child foster carers, and the charities they support, excel.

They are the support networks and strong peer role models that Mums need. These foster carers have lived-in experience of helping others; they have compassion, wisdom, and life experience to help new parents, and more importantly, they don’t judge.

‘Parent & Child foster carers know; trust does not come easy to some.’

Many young parents did not have the best start in life. They often have been in care, either in foster care or living in residential children’s homes. Often, these young people suffer trauma, their needs are complex, and sadly, they tend not to expect too much. They are often wary of strangers, and trust issues arise as the need to protect themselves begins. Parent & Child foster carers understand that sometimes life, for these parents, is complex.

Accepting help is difficult; they have developed a survival mode to protect themselves. As a parent, we need to get help; however, taking help is a challenge. Sadly, many young parents feel judged, especially those with lived-in care experience. They think they are expected to fail. Sadly, the biggest challenge is within themselves and a system they know so well.

Understanding maternal feelings is a barrier.

Many parents don’t understand the concept of caring for others, and understanding maternal feelings is a barrier; they don’t recognise feelings of love. These young people are conditioned to survive; they look out for themselves and feel vulnerable if they let others in.

Parent and Child is a type of foster care that understands the complex needs of new parents; they know that facing pregnancy alone is hard. Also, they understand the needs of babies to an already vulnerable mum, with little support, is challenging. Thankfully, Parent & Child foster carers have lived-in experience helping new Mums and their babies settle, as do the charities and support networks they represent.

woman cradling a baby girl, the text reads Parent & Child Fostering
Parent & Child fostering; the difference Mums need when needed most!

Having a family of their own is the ultimate dream.

For many of us, the ultimate dream is to have a family one day. The dream is more potent for children with lived-in care experiences; these future parents, who often lived with abuse, trauma, or neglect, become determined to be better parents than the ones they had.

There are many parents who, themselves, did not have the best start in life; they know what bad parenting is. They have inherent empathy and know what to do and what not to do. As one of my friends told me, I know what abuse feels like; my children will never feel how I feel. My children will have unconditional and best love, not because of my past; that didn’t define me. I look to my future with love; my future is kinder to me.’

Accepting help is often the barrier to building trust.

If you met my friend, you would never know the hurt she has faced in her past. She and her husband are amazing parents and now have their own family they adore. However, she accepted help because she knew no other way than the wrong one. More importantly, she didn’t want to get being a Mum wrong; she knew where it led. So, she took the support, let others in, and started to trust again.

Baby lay on a blanket being dressed
Parent & Child fostering.

Thankfully, Parent and Child foster carers understand, and they lead with compassion, empathy, and kindness. These foster carers guide parents, teaching life skills to build confidence that, over time, is the pathway to families staying together.

Parent & Child foster carers help new parents recognise and understand their changing feelings towards their child. Many don’t understand these feelings; they reject them, and Parent & Child foster carers know that time and consistency in a calm and controlled way helps parents to accept these feelings. Time allows parents to learn and take these new feelings as feelings of love toward their child, and the dream of family life becomes a reality.

Former Parent & Child foster carers were women who ‘took you in.’

I grew up on an estate in Swinton, Salford. Many women who were ‘in trouble’ went ‘under the wings’ of other women. These women were older women with a heart bigger than themselves; they did the right thing because it was what they did. Also, they knew these women needed support; they needed help to keep Mums and their babies together.

I am blessed that my grandmothers and great-grandmother took women ‘in trouble.’ They opened their hearts and homes, although they had little, by today’s standards, certainly. They shared what they had. More importantly, they knew these women didn’t know the system; but they did. They went with Mums, ‘down to the Town Hall,’ as it was then, and put them on the housing list.

They were the generations before us, keeping an eye out when we needed it.

These women and their babies then stayed with them until they were ready to move into a home of their own. More importantly, the house would always be ‘around the corner’ so they could keep an eye out (from a distance), just in case!

These women are the generations who walked before me, fearlessly paving the way to keep families together. I’m proud to be related to them; they inspire me.

My Grandmother on the right, Sarah Walker, kept an eye out for others; she was the difference children needed.

Parent & Child foster care pays a generous allowance.

These women were the Parent & Child foster carers of their day. Sadly, not much has changed, except the community’s lost focus, and we appeared to have stopped caring. The women of the past did not receive payment, nor did they expect to.

However, life today differs from the harshness and simplicity of those days. You will receive a generous allowance as a Parent & Child foster carer; quite simply, we know that to help others, you can’t worry about paying your bills. 

Parent and Child fostering is a specialist type of foster care; you don’t need academic qualifications. Foster carers need life experiences, empathy, compassion, and, more importantly, they are not judgemental.

Parent & Child foster carers are people who understand life’s challenges.

Recently, a lady rang and asked me about Parent & Child foster care. She said, ‘I don’t think you will be interested in me. I don’t have ‘O’ levels.’ I asked if she had any children and if she could advocate for children. She laughed and said, ‘ I don’t know what that means, but I can speak up for them!’

She had seven children and brought most of them up as a single parent; she also had 12 grandchildren, whom she adored. More importantly, she said, some of her children had strayed on the wrong path, and she worked with the Police and social services. I know my way around, she said. I got them the help they needed and to which they were entitled.

‘It’s every woman for herself out there now.’

This lady wasn’t behind the door; she knew what her children needed. However, she was worried. She said,’ what about children in care who don’t have someone like me? What about the children who have been in care and have no one? How are they supposed to know about being a Mum and running a house? I worry about them. They are why I want to help.’

I told her I understood and asked, ‘where do you think your children would have ended up if you hadn’t been their voice She replied, ‘In prison; or God knows where. They would have carried on down that path, and I know where it leads. I did the right thing; it’s what I do.’

‘No- one tells you anything; it’s every woman for herself out there, and it’s wrong.’ She’s right. And, although she didn’t carry on with her fostering inquiry (at 73 years of age, it might be a bit too much for her.) She looks after her family and knits beautiful baby clothes…

child looking at a lady who is holding a hair brush
Parent & Child foster care, a helping hand when you need it most.

We urgently need foster carers to help Mums and their babies.

Parent & Child foster care is a specialist type of foster care and is an enriching role like no other. The problem is that few people know about it. I’ve heard it called a ‘need to know’ type of foster care. However, we need to know about it; otherwise, how do we get the best people?

Contact Verve on the form below if you want to know more about Parent & Child foster care. There’s no cost or commitment. Just honest advice on the difference you can make to Mums and their babies when they need a little help. Together, we can make a difference. Can you foster?

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