Foster carers who look after babies are considered as specialists. This is because it is a big responsibility and babies have lots of niche needs that children of other ages do not. You will be needed at all times and required to maintain a certain level of hypervigilance. So, how do you get into fostering babies? This guide explains more.
In This Article
The Usual Foster Carer Application
To get to a point where you can be considered for looking after babies, you have to go through the usual process of becoming a carer. Pick an agency like the Fostering People that is supportive and listens to your fostering goals, and go through the training as you normally would. This will include learning about key strategies that are specific to infants and getting to know what is required in the bigger picture too. If you are successful in your application, it is worth knowing that you may be asked to foster a wide age range of children alongside requests for baby placements.
When a baby is taken into the foster care system, it could be for a variety of reasons. All of these reasons sit on a sliding scale and include things like abuse, neglect, and parents who have issues like drug or alcohol dependency. What this means for you is that the infant you look after may struggle with withdrawal symptoms, a lack of attachment development, or even anxiety because all of these things are possible at such a young age. It will be your job to navigate this using all of the training and tools that you have accumulated up to this point.
Being Ready at Short Notice
When a baby is placed with foster carers, it is usually at short notice, and you have to be ready! You could get a call and meet a baby just a few hours later, so having all of the necessary equipment and facilities set up and waiting is a great call. You never know when your agency might request your professional services, and infants need a certain number of things to help you look after them safely; for instance, somewhere stable to sleep like a cot, feeding equipment, toys, and even clothing.
Meeting Their Needs
There is such a vast scale of needs that come with infants, and you must be well prepared for anything that could come along as a part of the fostering situation. Some babies may be underdeveloped, for example, not meeting typical milestones. So, you will guide them to a point where they are able to hit those expected targets like crawling, rolling and even encouraging them to babble. It is here where they will learn to create positive attachments, and regardless of how long or how short the placement lasts, your role will be a pivotal one in their life. Lots of babies return to their birth families after a period of time, and this is the optimal outcome.
Fostering a baby is a lot like fostering other ages of children, but arguably more demanding. There will be lots of preparation to make and a niche set of skills to take on board as well.