When people think of fostering, they often think of babies and young children. Not many people know that you can foster young mothers (or fathers) and their babies.
What is Mother and baby fostering?
There are some young parents who, for various reasons, may be ill-equipped for parenting. Indeed, they may have experienced chaotic, inconsistent parenting themselves as children and not have a positive role model from whom to se. Some young people are victims of sexual exploitation and may not be in a position to keep their new baby safe. Some young parents may have learning difficulties. Therefore, they need additional support to bond with and care for their children. In some cases, new parents have to overcome mental health, domestic violence, abuse, addiction or attachment issues.
Many people seem to think that babies are routinely taken from their mothers. Increasingly, foster carers have an opportunity to help babies stay with their birth mothers.
What are the challenges of mother and baby fostering?
Carers fostering young mothers and babies have to strike a balance. Consequently, they walk a line between facilitating and intervening. Between guiding and stepping in.
Foster carers need to be observant but not intrusive. They need to ensure the welfare of the baby whilst also being concerned with the well-being of the mother. Foster carers need to judge without being judgemental.
Fostering mothers and babies is not easy. Many young mothers do not have a positive experience of being parented. Consequently they do not have knowledge to draw on. Therefore foster carers must provide guidance at a time when mothers are feeling defensive.
What does successful mother and baby fostering look like?
When it works, mother and baby fostering offers something exceptionally precious for children. Ideally we believe children should be with their birth parents where they are able to be kept safe and loved. Fostering mothers gives them the chance to prove they can care for their babies. In addition, it gives young mothers an opportunity to regain custody of other children they may have previously lost. When successful foster carers are able to interrupt the generational cycle of going into care.
Want to know more about fostering mothers and babies?
If you want to know more about fostering babies and their young mums, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, like our Facebook page or call us on 01206 299775.