A brand-new campaign is being launched this week by Cumbria County Council’s fostering service to help keep families together.

The campaign hopes to find foster carers who can welcome a vulnerable parent and their baby into their home.

The aim of the campaign is that foster carers will use skills they have acquired, as a parent or carer, to model positive parenting and give the family the best possible chances of staying together.

Foster carer Tracy Fowler, from Allerdale, has been fostering for 10 years and offering parent and child placements for six years.

Tracy said: “It’s been completely different to mainstream fostering and all the parent and child placements have been different – some of the mums were just 17 while the older ones were in their 20s or even early 30s. “It’s very different to what I first expected because I work more with the parent than the baby; helping mum to keep the baby safe and with her own issues too.

“The placements are all consuming and you need to be aware of what’s going on 24/7, even overnight.

“It is intense and anyone thinking of this type of fostering needs to consider that. They need to be able to share their space for the length of the contract with mum, which could be six months or longer.

“I enjoy all the placements as you get a great sense of satisfaction from knowing you have done everything possible to keep baby safe while giving mum the opportunity to prove her parenting abilities.”

As a parent and child foster carer, you’ll work closely alongside social workers, health professionals and other agencies.

You will need to have positive parenting or caring experience, a spare bedroom and to be at home full-time. As a parent and child foster carer with Cumbria County Council you will receive exceptional training, support and a weekly allowance of £700.

Claire Lloyd, Fostering Service Manager, said: “Becoming a parent is one of the biggest challenges of our lives, and it can be overwhelming, especially if you’re young and don’t have much support. By providing parent and child foster care, our goal is to support more local families to stay together.

“While not without its challenges, this type of fostering can be incredibly rewarding. As a parent and child carer you will play a huge part in setting up a young family for a successful independent life.

“If you think you have what it takes to foster a family in this way we would love to hear from you or you could attend our upcoming event to find out more.”

Find out more at our online Parent and Child (P&C) Fostering Information event on Thursday 29 April from 1pm to 2pm on Zoom, which offers a chance to meet our P&C carers and speak to our friendly team.

For further information call us today on 0303 333 1216 or visit cumbria.gov.uk/fostering.