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6.1.6 Parent and Baby Placements

RELEVANT LINKS

See the Brighton and Hove Fostering and Adoption website.

AMENDMENT

This chapter was simplified in May 2012 and now includes links to the Parent and Baby Referral Form, A template for setting up parent and baby placements and a Parent and Baby Placement Planning flow chart.


Contents

  1. Background
  2. Referral and Decision Making Process
  3. Initial Set up Meetings for Parent and Baby Placements


1. Background

There has been a significant increase in the demand for parent and baby foster placements with this resource now often being considered as the Care Plan for most newborn babies where Care Proceedings are being issued at birth. 

Parent and baby foster placements can, have a key role to play in our care planning for babies and infants particularly when the key issues of concern relate to the need for a parent to be provided with the opportunity for intensive support and parenting skills work from an experienced foster carer and there are no opportunities for this to be achieved within a Connected Persons placement. These can often be young parents or parents with a learning disability.

The provision of a parent and baby foster placement is a specialist task and the pool of in-house parent and baby carers has increased and specialist training and support continues to be developed for these carers.  The matching process needs to be undertaken carefully to consider how this fostering task fits with the needs of the carers own children or other children in placement. Independent fostering agencies on the preferred provider list are also aware of the need to recruit carers for this task.   Many placements, if progressing successfully do continue for many months and carers can offer support to the parent in developing their network in the local community and moving on into independent living.

These placements require a significant amount of input from social workers.   They also require tight timescales with intensive support and assessment in order for either independence to be achieved and  a successful move back to the community or for permanence options for the child to be progressed.

Good Care Planning is essential to avoid drift and to achieve permanence.


2. Referral and Decision Making Process

  • If following the Legal Planning Meeting the proposed Care Plan is for a Parent and baby placement agreement for such a plan needs to sought from the fieldwork Service Manager;
  • Once agreement has been gained from fieldwork Service Manager  a referral needs to be made to Fostering Duty Desk. The Fostering duty team will always try and match the parent and baby with an appropriate in-house resource. If that is not possible agreement will have to be sought from the Team Manager Fostering to send the referral to the children's agency placement team to undertake IFA search;
  • Early referral to the Fostering Duty team is important to enable the Fostering service to consider all the matching and placement issues including any risk factors, the expectations of the placement and whether there is a need for any specialist input i.e. if a parent has a learning disability. Referrals should be made on referral form B (The Parent and Baby Referral Form);
  • With all parent and baby foster placements whether as a result of Care Proceedings or whether under Section 20 it is important, if at all possible, to build in an opportunity for the parent to meet the carers before the start of the placement. If the plan is made in agreement with the parents then clearly this allows for a good introduction process. However, even in situations where a parent and baby foster placement has not been the local authority Care Plan but this has subsequently been decided at Court every effort should be made to allow the parents and carers to meet with their respective Social Workers before the start of the placement so an initial placement agreement can be discussed and drawn up;
  • If a parent and baby foster placement is the plan determined in Court then it is essential that there is a set up meeting involving all parties that takes place as soon as possible but certainly within 5 working days of the start of the placement;
  • Regular Core Group meetings need to take place in relation to the parent and baby placement that are separate from the Looked After Review in relation to the child. These should take place at least 6 weekly.
See Parent and Baby Placement Planning flow chart


3. Initial Set up Meetings for Parent and Baby Placements

These meetings should be chaired by the relevant fieldwork Service Manager and held in a neutral venue i.e. not in the foster Home. Minutes need to be taken and an agreement drawn up that is signed by the social worker, parent and carer. The meeting needs to include the parents, foster Carers, social worker for the child and the supervising social worker for the carer, the Guardian and all 3 legal representatives. See A Template for setting up parent and baby placements.

If appropriate, the meeting could then continue with just the foster Carer, Parent and respective Social Workers to complete the Placement Plan (recorded on the Placement Information Record) document and consider any outstanding detail in relation to the day to day arrangements within the foster home. This could include any outstanding issues from the initial placement agreement in relation to house rules, provision of meals by the carer, financial arrangements, transport arrangements, expectations in relation to privacy etc.

End