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Fostering career 2: Parent and child placements – what is it?

Parents or soon-to-be parents can be referred to foster carers to develop their ability to look after their child.  The new family will temporarily share a home with their foster carers, giving them an opportunity to experience everyday life in a safe and encouraging atmosphere.  In these instances, carers will produce daily reports in which they record their observations of the family and help equip the parent with the skills to hopefully look after their child independently.

Five Rivers foster carer, Lesley Mahoney specialises in mother and baby placements. She says,  “I love the satisfaction that comes with looking after mums and their babies, my job is to help them become more independent in looking after their children and to give them a shot at being a real family unit. The mums who come to stay with me are from all types of backgrounds, some have escaped abusive relationships, others have mental health issues and I’ve had quite a few youngsters under 18 with their little ones. Some stay for the minimum three month placement but I’ve had others with me for up to 10 months.”

People from all walks of life can become foster carers as long as they are over 21 years of age, including single people, co-habiting couples, same sex couples and people living in rented accommodation.  The only requirement is a spare room for each foster child.

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