Our Parent & Child service provides a range of options for the assessment and support of parents with their children.
AFA’s Parent & Child service has been established since 2014. Placements are supported by experienced Social Work staff working to our Specialist Services Manager, who oversees the management and further development of the service.
The main focus in all Parent & Child placements is to ensure that the welfare of the child remains paramount. Within this, the purpose of this specialised type of placement is to promote parenting skills and responsibility. AFA knows that the stakes are very high for the parent, and a Parent & Child foster placement may be the key opportunity for the parent, with the support of the carers, to develop the skills and attitude needed to safely care for their child in the community. To facilitate this, Parent & Child carers have a role as teachers of parenting skills and enablers of parents to develop secure, healthy attachment relationships with their children.
The timescales for this work are necessarily determined by the child’s need for timely resolution of permanence plans. In general, AFA’s Parent & Child model consists of a 12 week placement, wherein the first four weeks are based around teaching and modelling appropriate parenting. In the middle four weeks the carers take a ‘step back’ and prompt/intervene only as necessary, in a supportive way. In the final weeks the carers only intervene if there are safeguarding concerns. This schedule can be adjusted during the course of placements, with the agreement of the Local Authority, to reflect the needs and progress of individual parents.
AFA recognises that foster carers who provide these placements require additional, specific skills, in particular in order to strike the right balance between intervention and assessment. As such our Parent & Child carers are provided with additional training in the areas of: Legal Framework and Implications, Observational Skills (including Attachment Behaviour), Child Development, Assessment Skills, Observation/Assessment/Intervention, Working with Other Professionals, Advanced Attachment, and Recording.
In respect of recording, AFA works hard to support Parent & Child carers to provide information to the Local Authority that is clear, transparent, accurate, evidence-based and non-judgmental, in order to support the Local Authority in completing assessments that have, in turn, all of these attributes.
In addition to this ongoing training, AFA recognises the importance of reflective practice, and as such organises regular Reflective Practice Groups for Parent & Child carers, facilitated by AFA Social Workers. This provides the opportunity to talk through and consider the particular challenges that providing this form of foster care involves, as well as the chance for our foster carers to learn from each other’s experience.
In circumstances where the parent leaves the placement or is assessed as not being capable of providing good enough long-term care for their child, AFA offers the opportunity to the Local Authority of ‘stepping down’ the placement to child-only, and supporting the child to move to permanence, in due course, including adoption. Carers are supported in this process by additional training around ‘bridging’.
For further information please contact Craig Noyes on 07833 488816 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.