When I first thought about fostering, many images of how it would be, came to mind. All of these were of a child being placed in my care. I didn’t even know parent and child placements were a thing.
Going through my assessment I was made aware of all the different types of fostering, and while I was interested in the parent and child placements, I am a single carer and worked in a school, so it wasn’t something I really explored, as I wouldn’t be able to be at home throughout the day. Fast forward 6 months and COVID-19 struck the nation. I was then at home on furlough with plenty of time available and got offered a temporary parent and child placement — so I thought let’s give this a go. And I haven’t looked back since! So much so, I gave notice to the school so I could pursue parent and child placements full-time.
I absolutely love that I get to try and help a fellow mum keep her baby. I’ve been able to build a good relationship with both mums that I’ve had stay with me and it’s very rewarding to see their trust grow enough to ask and listen to my opinion. I think doing these kinds of placements you have to be very open-minded, they may want to do something a different way with their child than I did with mine and it’s their choice to be able to do that (providing it isn’t harmful to the child, of course!) It is remembering that you are there in a support and to monitor capacity and not to take over. It challenges me but these challenges have helped me improved in areas I would usually try to avoid or pass off to someone else, such as having difficult conversations you know aren’t going to be well-received. But honesty really is the best policy and if nothing else, you know you have given them everything they need to be able to succeed.
Parent and child placements are intense, challenging and sometimes stressful but as the saying goes ‘challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.’ These particular placements are mostly short term, usually lasting 12 weeks meaning in-between placements I can spend quality one-on-one time with my 3-year-old daughter. This type of placement fits in really well with our family dynamic and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else now.
If you’re interested in becoming a parent and child (P&C) carer, call Nexus Fostering on 0800 389 0143.