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Foster carer Stephanie cared for a parent and child placement from February 2013. The mother, Georgia, was aged 17 and her son was 3 days old when placed. Georgia was an asylum seeker. She had been living in a mother and baby unit to assess how she was preparing for the birth of her child. Georgia had almost no family support around her and only had one known birth family member with whom she had little contact. It is likely that Georgia had been fending pretty much for herself from a very young age and arrived to placement with a very tough exterior and lots of hostility towards the carer and all professionals. Georgia was clear that she wanted to keep her son.
Stephanie provided a balance of clear boundaries, dedicated guidance and care to both the baby and Georgia. It quickly became apparent that despite the tough exterior Georgia needed and was seeking a lot of love and comfort from someone. Stephanie provided this while continuing to keep the baby’s needs at the forefront of the placement. Georgia and Stephanie forged a very good relationship which saw Georgia learn and develop as a mother which ultimately had a very positive impact on the baby.
During difficult times Georgia would be lured back to her old lifestyle. Stephanie was very clear that whilst she could not prevent Georgia from leaving the placement to do this, the baby would remain with her and that any concerns she had would be recorded and reported. These clear messages about her safeguarding role as a foster carer whilst providing nurture to Georgia, meant these incidents became far and few between.
The baby thrived throughout this placement and met all his milestones appropriately. Georgia also progressed, enrolling at college and eventually being assessed as able to move on with her baby to semi-independence approximately one year after they had been placed. Despite this decision, at the last hurdle Georgia stated that she did not feel she could care for her baby and moved on to semi-independence alone. Despite this significant impact this could have had on the baby, he seemed to continue to grow and flourish further in the care of Stephanie. This lead to the baby being adopted in July 2014. Georgia had made a strong bond with the baby yet fully supported and guided the adopters to ensure they formed a bond with him before he moved.
To date the adoption has proved to be successful with Stephanie being invited to see him periodically and the child appearing to be a very happy, settled baby. Stephanie also continues to provide emotional support to Georgia.