Parent and child assessments

Parent and child fostering, also known as mother and baby fostering, is a type of fostering placement where a parent and their own child (often a young mother and baby) require extra support and guidance, so stay in the home of foster carers.

What is a parent and child assessment?

During the mother and baby placement, an assessment will take place over the course of 3 months. The parent and child assessment is undertaken by an experienced FosterCare UK social worker, or a social worker from the local authority. This assessment is carried out in order to assess the parent’s ability to look after their child, and monitor the relationship between mother and baby. The social worker will meet with the family every week, and follow the ‘Framework for Assessment of Children in Need and their Families’ (Department of Heath)’.

As the act of being observed in itself is likely to have an effect on the way the parent behaves, we eliminate this as a variant by making the assessment a 3-month long process – and ensuring that it is solely evidence based.

What to expect from the parent and child assessment

Here at FosterCare UK, we will prepare the court report (the foster assessment), which is negotiated at the time the placement commences. By doing so, that also means we are able to offer comprehensive support and supervision through our team of social workers and therapists. The carer and the parent will be met every week by the assessing social workers in order to undertake the assessment, and will often be available between these times if required.

When you become a parent and child foster carer, you will receive extensive therapeutic training and support throughout your journey to become a foster carer. You will be specifically trained to make concise, factual non-judgemental reports on what you observe of the parent and child relationship, and the experience itself. You will also be trained in Recording and Observation in Parent and Child Arrangements, which includes:

  • The critical role of observation and recording in child welfare
  • Observation and experiencing the world of the child
  • Managing the emotional impact of the work
  • Understanding the Assessment Framework Triangle (DoH)
  • The impact of our own biographies on the observation process
  • The art of recording: separating fact, opinion and feelings; recording sequences and detailed interaction; what you see and what you don’t see
  • What parents bring with them: being observed and establishing a ‘baseline’
  • What are we looking for? ‘Good enough’ parenting, attachment and practical skills

This extensive training prepares you to undertake this specialist type of fostering placement, which in turn, provides the parent of the child with the best opportunity to succeed.

Continued parent and child support

For the parents in care who are successful in their assessments, there is opportunity to continue receiving support through the option of a community-based assessment/ monitoring programme. This determines whether the level of parenting developed through the parent and child placement has been effectively sustained post-placement in the parent’s own environment. This level of support is available in the form of bespoke packages, which is agreed on an individual basis, as well as some ongoing coaching and modelling. This support has proven to be extremely useful to parents after they leave their foster family.

For more information on the parent and child fostering assessments, or to learn more about becoming a mother and baby foster career, get in touch with a member of our friendly team here at FosterCare UK.

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