We need foster carers to look after babies and toddlers who cannot live with their birth parents because they have been harmed through abuse or neglect.
At times birth parents may place their young child into care voluntarily. It is not unusual for young children to have additional care requirements because of attachment issues or developmental delay, and we have some babies who are born with addiction withdrawal due to mothers who have misused drugs and alcohol in pregnancy. Foster carers therefore have to be completely available, sensitive and highly responsive to young children’s needs.
You will ideally have experience of looking after babies and toddlers, which might include:
- parenting your own children
- looking after younger family members
- working in pre-schools or nurseries
- working as a reception teacher
- working as a midwife or health visitor.
You will need to be able to provide a safe, stable home, with very high levels of care and nurture. You will also need to provide opportunities for stimulation to enable young children to learn and develop physically, emotionally, and educationally. You will become the baby or toddler's secure base, enabling them to develop a healthy, positive, safe relationship, so that they can recover from trauma while a more permanent plan is made for them.
You will need to have excellent interpersonal skills as you will be working closely with children’s parents or their adoptive parents if they're being adopted, to provide optimum opportunities to allow healthy and safe relationships to develop.
Babies up to the age of 2 years old can sleep in a moses basket or cot in the foster carer's bedroom but children any older must have their own room.
Reward and support
Foster carers will receive:
- fostering payments of up to £350.97 per week per child (based on an Advanced Level 3 carer looking after a 4 year old)
- two weeks holiday payment per year
- an allocated fostering social worker
- access to 24-hour support
- comprehensive training and development opportunities including an induction programme, ongoing training and qualifications to diploma level
- access to fostering support groups
- an allocated mentor during your first year of fostering
- membership to FosterTalk
- membership to the Kent Foster Care Association
- support from Virtual School Kent
- access to the Children and Young People's Council
- participation in appreciation and activity days
- payment for skills panel consideration to recognise training undertaken and carer’s abilities
- enhanced payments for caring for children and young people who have more complex behaviours.