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Newborns and small babies will be taken into care under certain circumstances, some of the most common circumstances are:
Although when we think of fostering, many people will think of looking after a small, innocent baby who needs love and looking after, this is rarely the case. Of course, babies do sometimes need fostering. This is, however, nowhere near as common an occurrence as popular myth has people believe.
When we look at the UK Government National Statistics report on Children Looked After in England including Adoption: 2018 to 2019, we find that only 5% of those entering the care system that year are aged under 1 year. The largest age group that enters the care system are children between the ages of 10 and 15 who make up 39% of looked after children. The second largest age group is those aged over 16, making up 24% of fostered children. In actual fact, it is teenagers that most often need a loving foster home and family to support them.
The prospect of fostering a baby is very desirable for many new and prospective foster parents, therefore there tends to be a much higher demand when it comes to fostering babies. This could be because babies are less likely to have picked up challenging behaviour traits or have developed trauma through past experiences. However, caring for a baby is a full-time job and will require your complete time and dedication. When caring for an older child, you will have some spare time while they are at school to catch up on chores or work, fostering a baby will require all of your time.
Of course, you also need to consider how difficult it will be to give up the baby when more permanent arrangements have been made for them. At Fusion we recognise some of the emotional challenges it can place upon a foster carer as it is difficult to part with any child that you have cared for, but as babies are entirely dependent on you, the bond that will have formed will be strong. This is why, as an agency, we generally would not approve carers to just look after children under the age of 5 years old. Looking after babies as a foster carer is a more specialist role such as; parent and child fostering or child with complex health and or disabilities care. Therefore carers require high levels of specialist training, understanding, and support to meet the needs of each child.
A much more common occurrence is parent and child fostering. Parent and child carers provide care for a baby who has come into the care system alongside a young parent. You will be expected to support a parent in their care of their child and make notes of your observations that can be used by an assessor to provide evidence to the Court who decide on whether the parent can keep caring for their child. This is a specialist form of foster care and will require additional training to ensure you have the skills and knowledge to provide adequate support and care to a child and parent.
This role allows you to support a parent in the care of their baby or young child, letting you become a good role model and teaching them skills that they may not have had the chance to learn. This can be a great alternative for those who wish to foster babies as it gives you the chance to help a family stay together and grow stronger.
As always, if you are interested in becoming a foster carer with Fusion Fostering, we would love to hear from you. We are happy to answer any questions you have about fostering babies, parent and child fostering or any other types of foster placement. Please get in contact with us by calling 03301 239 355, emailing email@example.com, or filling out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.