Could you be a parent and child foster carer?

Column by Councillor Stephen Burroughes, Deputy Cabinet Member for Fostering and Adoption.
Published: 23 Jan 2024

In this week's column, we are exploring parent and child fostering. It's a lesser known but incredibly impactful type of fostering and we need more people to consider if they could become parent and child foster carers.

Parent and child fostering involves offering support and guidance to young parents, often mothers, who are facing challenges in caring for their children. This unique form of fostering aims to create a safe environment for both the parent and child, facilitating learning, growth, and the development of essential parenting skills.

This week we are shinning a light on Sam and Matt's personal journey with parent and child fostering, the challenges, the triumphs and why they would encourage others to become foster carers.

In 2009, Sam and Matt, parents of five, decided to start their fostering journey as they wanted to provide a loving home for children in need. A friend introduced them to fostering and they began doing short break placements, but their path eventually led them to parent and child fostering.

Sam, inspired by her own struggles as a young mother at 17, sought to extend a helping hand to those in similar situations. The lack of support during her early parenting years fuelled her desire to help parents that don’t have anyone else.

Sam and Matt started by caring for a 16-year-old mum and her baby. Despite the hurdles, including an unsafe relationship, the mum thrived under their guidance. She became a part of the family and they have stayed in touch with her even though she has now moved on to live independently.

Over the years, Sam and Matt have navigated many more diverse placements, from supporting a mum with learning disabilities to guiding a dad struggling with his parenting skills. Each placement presented unique challenges, which is the diverse nature of parent and child fostering.

Despite the challenges, Sam and Matt say that fostering has brought great experiences and invaluable life lessons to their family. As a family they have formed genuine relationships with young parents and children from different backgrounds which has taught them and their children empathy, compassion, and the importance of supporting others through difficult times. The challenges posed by fostering has brought the family closer together and made them more resilient.

Sam and Matt would wholeheartedly recommend parent and child foster care to others due to the difference you can make to both the young parents and the children involved. Despite difficult times, witnessing small successes and progress in the families they've supported has been immensely rewarding for Sam and Matt.

They feel that by providing guidance and empathy you have the potential to create a lasting influence on both the lives of the parents and the children whilst breaking generational patterns.

We need more people to come forward to become parent and child foster carers.

Foster carers must possess a blend of parenting knowledge, life experience, empathy, and strength. They must set boundaries, have honest communication, and a commitment to the parents and children in their care.

Training courses, staying updated on guidelines, and access to peer support are provided to our carers. This helps foster carers through the fostering process, ensuring that foster parents are well-prepared to provide a safe and nurturing environment for both parent and child.

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, please visit or call us on 01473 264800.