Alongside National Parenting Week, a retired foster carer is sharing the importance of Parent & Child Carers in Somerset, a role which provides care and support for not only a young child, but their parents also.
National Parenting Week takes place from 16 to 20 October and highlights the significant influence a child’s upbringing has across every aspect of their life – from personality and development to their lifelong social and emotional welfare.
For some parents, often young parents with experience of being in care themselves, the practical and emotional support of a foster carer to help them develop their parenting skills can be hugely beneficial to both the parent and child.
Jayne, a foster carer for 30 years with vast experience, including as a specialist Parent & Child Carer with Somerset Council, said:
The greatest reward of a Parent & Child Carer is seeing a parent going home with their child, and staying together.
We look after and support young mothers and fathers to look after their own children, and help stop their children going into foster care. The parents may not currently be making the best choices for themselves, having problems with partners, drugs or alcohol. They may not have been parented well themselves and need us as much as their child does sometimes.
Nobody is a perfect parent, so you just teach them to the best of your knowledge and the best that you can, on how to look after their child.’
Parent and Child placements are relatively short, with the child and their parent or parents living in the carer’s home for up to 26 weeks.
Cllr Tessa Munt, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Children, Families and Education commended the commitment and significant impact Parent & Child Carers can have on helping keep families together.
When a child comes into the care of Somerset Council, the aim is always to reunite the child with their birth family, when it is safe to do so. Children should be at home with their family whenever possible.
Carers like Jayne play a vital role in helping families stay together, providing support and guidance for parents to develop the skills they need to care for their child, and prevent the need for foster care.’
There is an urgent need for more foster carers in Somerset, and almost anyone can foster providing they are over 21 with a spare room in their home. I would encourage anyone with room in their home and their heart to find out more, and just like Jayne, you could make a difference to the life and future of a vulnerable young person and their family.
Alongside full training and support, foster carers receive a weekly fee and allowance payment which varies depending upon the type of care offered. There are a variety of fostering options available to suit the lifestyle of potential new carers, from occasional weekend care of a child to long-term fostering, and specialist schemes such as Parent & Child and High Need fostering.
High Need foster carers can expect to receive around £45,000 per year in fees and allowances, providing care for children with complex needs. Parent & Child payments average around £855 per week.