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From community nurse to dedicated parent and child foster carer, Liz's story

Liz & Rob

Growing up with an early ambition to become a qualified nurse to establishing a successful career that spanned four decades, Liz had always contemplated the idea of fostering, especially after witnessing her parents care for a foster baby during her primary school years.

‘I was one of 5 siblings and was always surrounded by other children and a nurturing family.’ Transitioning from a role on a children’s ward at Guy's Hospital in London to pursuing a role as a community nurse, Liz says ‘I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else in those forty years’.

Ten years ago, upon meeting her husband Rob, the idea of fostering arose early in their conversations. While Rob found fulfilment in volunteering at his local Army cadets, both Liz and Rob recognised fostering as a shared aspiration.

Liz expressed, 'We combined our life experiences and decided to take the plunge and apply!'

Following their approval as foster carers in May 2019, Rob and Liz's initial experience in foster care involved supporting a mother and her newborn know as a parent and child placement (P&C). Liz described the situation,

'we were approached to consider caring for a 24-year-old mother and her four-day-old baby. She had previously had a child removed from her care and faced the ultimatum of either surrendering her newborn immediately or entering a foster placement directly from the hospital, where she could receive monitoring and support to care for the baby.'

Typically, P & C placements are short term, however this can vary depending on the needs of the parent and child.

Liz says ‘We enjoyed helping mum with her baby, encouraging good routines and establishing good practices for the 8 months they were with us’.

Parent and child fostering aims to prevent children from coming into foster care and allows families to remain together. The goal is that the parent may eventually be able to provide independent care for their child.

Regular communication with family is maintained during parent and child placements to ensure the mother establishes a strong support network for post-placement. Liz details the connection between the mother in placement and her biological mother.

‘She often required a lot of support before and after contact with her birth mum. They did not have a good relationship, the little love that was there, ebbed and flowed very erratically. We had to teach mum that this was not the norm, that she could have a loving, happy relationship with her baby, whatever the problems life threw at them.’

Liz recalls a memorable moment from the P & C placement: ‘Watching the mum gain confidence, that she began to catch the bus into town on her own and even signed up for English & Maths lessons at the Adult Learning Centre!’ After eight months, the mother was able to move out of Liz and Rob's home and live with her family.

Liz reflects on their continued connection, saying, ‘The mum still messages me 5 years later; asking advice, updating me, letting me know her latest! I sincerely hope that she continues to do so, so that I can support her if needed.’

Due to the increased demand for P & C placements, Liz and Rob decided to embark on their second placement with a mother facing learning difficulties. This mother had been residing in a unit since her baby's birth, and the child was now seven months old. Contemplating the situation, the couple questioned what they could offer: ‘Could we monitor how she managed and looked after her baby? Would she be able to cope on her own eventually, with a child? Could she cook basic meals for them both? Manage to budget? Balance the need to pay household bills, food, and clothes before luxury items? We accepted the ‘challenge’.’

Being a P & C foster carer involves closely monitoring parenting behaviours and maintaining accurate records. Leveraging her nursing background, Liz was well-versed in identifying crucial aspects.

‘I was aware if it was not logged in the carers notes, it didn’t happen, therefore all events and occurrences whether they were good or not so good, were recorded meticulously.’

Liz stated ‘it was our view that she did not have the capacity to take on the advice and suggestions, there was no doubt she loved her baby, but it was evident that love would not be enough. It proved that observation and documentation was key in this case. Although we could see what was happening before our eyes, it was paramount that it was recorded.’ This formed part of the decision making in court 12 weeks later, when the judge passed an Adoption Order, the mother did not return to Liz and Rob's home on that day following the court proceedings. Now the young child is under their care until his forever home is found. Meanwhile, the couple have two young boys in a long-term fostering placement and Liz explained

‘Our boys know that the baby is waiting for a family and that he will be moving on. Their hearts, and ours, are full of love for him and we will help one another when the time comes for him leave.’

Despite the varied outcomes of the couples' parent and child placements, their unwavering commitment to creating a positive, supportive, and supervised environment for parents to develop essential skills as positive role models in their children's lives has been consistently evident throughout the years. This dedication aims to provide hope for a brighter future for both the parent and child.

For those interested in P & C fostering; confidence, and prior experience in caring for young babies are beneficial. The ability to independently care for an infant and effectively teach and demonstrate childcare to the parent is often required. Given the nature of this placement, it is crucial that at least one caregiver is consistently available and present to provide support and supervision.

As is the case with all fostering placements, having a spare bedroom is a essential. Specifically for parent and child fostering, the room should be spacious enough to accommodate both a parent and a child, with room for a bed and necessary baby equipment like a cot and changing mat.

Could you help keep a parent and child together in a P & C fostering placement? Contact us to find out more here.




Fostering stories


  • Advice
  • Young person
  • Long-term fostering
  • Parent and Child
  • Foster Carer
  • Adoption

Date published

22 February 2024

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