One of our fostering couples, David and Isama, answered some questions about their experiences as P&C (sometimes called mother and baby) placements.
“We have fostered two mothers and babies. A nearly 18-year-old unmarried young lady and her new born baby girl, and then a 35-year-old married mother and her baby boy who was aged four months when they came.”
“Mothers with babies needed fostering as well as children and we thought that we would have a lot to offer, so we did the Nexus training for mother and baby placements. We, our family, know that there are many reasons why people come into care, but we have noticed that others may have the perception that the foster mother and child have done something wrong to be in this situation which of course is not necessarily the case – don’t judge people till you know and even then, don’t judge. You need to be there for them.”
So how do David and Isama think that Parent and Child placements help those involved?
“I hope that the unity and love of our family and our relationships, together with our stability, will encourage the parent to feel secure here with us and it will show the mother what she can achieve… To watch the baby grow day by day and change, then roll, sit and stand, to develop its own personality, was wonderful.”
Parent and child (P&C) placements can take many forms, sometimes the parent and child come to the foster home for safety reasons, sometimes they might need the support of a stable home, or they may need to learn parenting skills they did not benefit from when they were young. So how do these placements differ from mainstream fostering placements?
“No different from any other fostering. The rewards are watching the baby grow and develop along with mother’s bonding. The only different challenge is to keep an eye on the baby at all times and, where necessary, to keep an eye on the mother and her attachment, or not, to her baby for its safety. The baby’s safety is paramount.”
In order to support a mother and baby, you must be properly supported too so what did David say about this?
“To know that you (Nexus Fostering) are there at the end of a phone and that you can help is all we need. We had a very difficult time a year ago when one placement, which was going so well for 18 months, turned into a nightmare almost overnight. Then we needed your support almost on a daily and nightly basis before it was resolved. That is something I shall not forget.”
So what is David’s final thought for those who might become a carer, or foster carers looking to take on a P&C placement?
“We trained to be foster carers for 15 months and we thought we were ready, but the moment that a foster placement is allocated to you and walks through the door, it is nothing like you thought it was going to be. My advice would be to know yourselves and what you can probably handle, but more importantly what you are not going to be able to manage.
“Make sure that your foster agency knows you well and can advise on what you can and cannot take on and even then there’s a lot of luck in what you get, so good luck!”
David and Isama are foster carers with our South East office in Hornchurch and have undertaken all kinds of fostering placements. If you would like to join them and change lives, get in touch with us today.