When people think of fostering, there are often connotations attached to this notion of creating a safe, loving home for babies in the care system. However, fostering babies is not as common as people initially believe. New-borns and infants are taken into care in these three instances:
These reasons would then mean it is not impossible for foster parents to have a baby placed within their care, but it may only be for a short period of time. However, it is important for all potential foster cares to know - fostering babies is not a common occurrence. One of the biggest myths around fostering babies is that foster carers will be caring mostly or only for babies most of the time. Let’s take a look at the reality of fostering in the UK.
There are a few different types of fostering placements which would lead to fostering babies indirectly:
If fostering babies is what motivates you to begin your fostering journey, this type of fostering placement may be the perfect fit for you. Parent and child fostering refers to placing both a parent and child within the care of a foster family for extra support and guidance looking after their new baby. The aim of this placement is to keep families together, helping both babies and their parents develop.
This placement would involve looking after both the parent (typically a mother in most cases) and their baby, ensuring they are caring for them in the best way possible, and preparing for the mother for parenthood.
Another aspect of parent and child fostering is the parent and child foster assessment. This refers to an assessment conducted by either an Excel Fostering social worker or a social worker from the local authority, who assesses the relationship and level of care the parent exhibits towards the child. This assessment is over a three-month period, allowing both the foster parent to provide observations and record their behaviour, as well as the social worker to obtain a clear understanding of how well the parent is caring for the child.
Another fostering placement in high demand, which may involve fostering babies, is fostering sibling groups. This type of placement aims to keep siblings together, rather than separating them to be cared for by different foster families. As it’s not common for babies to enter foster care on their own, it’s more common to come into foster care with their siblings. By becoming a foster carer of sibling groups, it provides the opportunity for children to stay together – alleviating much more stress and trauma that would be caused by separating them.
If you are interested in fostering babies, it’s important that you are in good health – as babies take up a great deal of time and energy, and often play havoc with your sleeping pattern. It’s also important to understand the process of reunification – the primary goal of foster care is to return the baby back to their parents if possible. This means you will likely have the opportunity to watch this baby develop and grow, and become attached. Remembering and understanding that these babies will not be in your care full time is essential for becoming a foster carer.
To find out more, visit our dedicated page on fostering babies in the UK. This details reasons why babies may be taken into care, how to become a foster carer for babies and more information on mother and child foster placements. Alternatively, get in touch with our helpful team for more information.