The amazing Maggie and Mike have been fostering for more than 15 years.

They’ve already shared their fostering story with us but we caught up with them recently so they could tell us what it’s like helping a young parent learn how to look after their child.

A parent and child placement is most often a mother and a newborn baby but Maggie and Mike have had helped fathers too and a young parent with an 18-month-old toddler.. Why did they start fostering parents and their child?

‘We were already fostering and we really liked the idea of helping somebody to learn something new and give them advice and support on how bringing up a baby can work well.

‘You’ve got to remember that a lot of these new parents may not have had a very good upbringing of their own. They don’t know what a loving, secure and stable family home can look like, so how can they replicate it for their own children?’

Maggie and Mike have had a few different experiences as parent and child foster carers. Some have successfully kept mother and baby together and others than have meant the child has gone on to become adopted. Here they tell us their stories:

‘We had an emergency mother and baby placement on Christmas Eve one year. We provided a safe house for her following a domestic violence incident, which the child had also witnessed. The mum and baby stayed with us while the father went on a course for his behaviour and they eventually reunited.

‘As foster carers, we also look after babies ourselves when we don’t have a parent and child placement. We were looking after a baby who had been deserted by his mother when the court ruled that the father should be given the opportunity and support to look after the baby himself. So dad joined us with the baby and we worked to support him in how to look after him.

‘He had so much heart for his little one. He really cared for him and wanted him to have a good life. Sadly, he had no family support around him and didn’t feel able to bring up his child alone and offer him a good life. He tried so hard to make it work but, ultimately, he made the very hard decision to give his baby up for adoption.

‘A placement that we’re really proud of was when a mother almost put her baby up for adoption. She was a university student who just didn’t know if she would be able to cope in bringing up her baby alongside supporting herself and her studies. We looked after the baby for seven weeks to give her time to think and, during this time, mum visited 3-4 times a week. She didn’t have to do this but she really cared for her baby and wanted to make it work.

‘She soon decided that she would keep her baby and worked hard to get her own flat. We helped her to get the baby into nursery and she also came to live with us for four weeks so she could learn how to look after her baby through the night and around the clock. We then helped her move into her flat. We’ve remained friends and we see her and her now four-year-old regularly, which is lovely!’

Young people are often in desperate situations when their baby comes along. For them to be given the opportunity to learn how to look after their child, build their confidence and make the right decisions for them and their baby is invaluable.

Find out more about the practical things to think about with parent and child fostering.

Contact us if you think you could help guide a young parent and her baby in your home, we need parent and child foster carers in Reading.