If you have been watching Coronation Street recently, you may have been following a storyline involving Abi Franklin and her son Alfie. Abi is desperate to be a part of her son’s life, even if that means via a Mother and Baby fostering placement.
As with some previous Coronation Street storylines centred around fostering, TACT CEO Andy Elvin was brought in as a consultant for the Alfie and Abi storyline to ensure a realistic depiction of foster care.
Although the term ‘Mother and Baby’ is used to describe the type of fostering covered in the Coronation Street storyline, it is more often called Parent and Child Fostering. This is because either or both parents could be a part of this type of foster care. However, it is important to reference all terms used for this type of foster care in order to provide centralised information. Internally, TACT prefer the term ‘Child and Parent’, which aligns with our ethos of placing children first in all scenarios. PACT (Parent and Child(ren) Together) is another term often used by agencies or local authorities.
“We are very grateful that Coronation Street make the effort to have storylines and dialogue that try to respect the reality of the complex and emotive situations that some children and families find themselves in.”
– Andy Elvin
What is Mother and Baby fostering?
Mother and Baby Fostering, as the name suggests, involves providing a fostering placement for both. The parent(s) will usually be aged under 18, making them a looked after child themselves – although not in all cases. The children are usually very young, and a foster carer’s main duty is to provide support, help and advice to the parent(s), with the aim of the fostered family moving to independent living once more. A foster carer’s role within the life span of the placement will range from providing full care to the child whilst mentoring the parent, to taking a step back and reviewing how well the parent is coping.
The foster carer will also contribute to any assessments of the parents ability to manage, which will involve maintaining clear and concise recordings to provide to the social worker and Court.
A typical placement lasts for 12 weeks, although this can sometimes be extended if a Court agrees that more support should be provided. It can also be extended if more time is required to complete the assessment.
The key point to remember is that this type of fostering is centred around keeping children and their parent(s) together.
How does Mother and Baby differ from other foster care?
The main difference is that there will be at least one additional adult in the fostering home. With other types of foster care, only children will be placed.
Whilst record keeping on the part of the foster carer is crucial for any type of fostering, a Mother and Baby placement undergoes an assessment after a 12 week period, so accurate recording is essential.
Although placements of this fostering type are relatively short term in length, foster carers who are able to take Mother and Baby placements are highly sought after.
Is there Mother and Baby training available?
There is specialist training available to anyone interested in undertaking Mother and Baby foster care.
This training is centred around working with parents, and child development. Sometimes the adults may have additional needs, or they may have been involved with substance misuse or have been a victim of domestic violence.
As record keeping is key to the role of a foster carer, training and guidance on how and what to record will be provided.
Read more about TACT’s specialist training on our Parent and Child Fostering page.
“It’s incredible to see the bond developing between the parent and their baby”
Mother and Baby fostering support
24/7 support is vital for any type of fostering. Day-to-day support will be provided by an allocated social worker who will provide guidance and advice. Foster carers also receive out-of-hours support should they ever need it.
At TACT, any carer who is trained to take Mother and Baby placements is also allocated a ‘buddy’ – who will be another foster carer experienced in Mother and Baby placements. This provides foster carers with an additional knowledge resource from someone ‘in the field’.
Read more about TACT’s standard foster carer support.
Could you be a Mother and Baby foster carer?
Whatever term or phrase you might have heard to describe this type of fostering, the objective is the same: to mentor and provide support and guidance to parents whilst providing care to their child(ren). Many foster carers find this type of care highly rewarding because it is centred around keeping families together.
Read more about Parent and Child Fostering.
Alternatively, if you would like to make a no-obligation enquiry about Parent and Child fostering, you can complete the enquiry form on this page.