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Parents guide to fostering

Parents with Child

Pre-Placement Planning Meeting   

If we have a carer who can meet yours and your child’s needs, we will hold a pre placement planning meeting with you, your child’s social worker and a social worker from First Steps Fostering. At this meeting we will talk about what specific areas of support the carers need to focus on, how this needs to be applied, how this will be recorded, your views on the placement and expectations. After this meeting, we will have enough information to be able to say if we can meet your needs and your child’s needs. You will also have enough information to decide if you feel the expectations are right for you and if you want to accept a placement with us if it's offered.  

Placement Planning Meeting   

Once we have offered a placement, and you have accepted it, we will hold a placement planning meeting. This will be held within 5 working days of you entering the placement however where possible, it is better to have this meeting on the day you are placed to ensure everyone is clear on expectations. This meeting is really important because it is where we will create a plan of how the carers are going to support you, expectations of you, the Local Authority, First Steps Fostering and carers are made clear and written in a document which you will have a copy of. We will talk about finances, registration with a GP and health visitor, arrangements for sleeping and community support available to you.  

Happy boy
​What is First Steps Fostering?  

First Steps Fostering is an Independent Fostering Agency who provide high quality placements for mums, dads or both to live with their children under the care, support and supervision of specially trained foster carers. The placements usually last between 3 - 6 months, during this time assessments will be completed by either the Local Authority or First Steps Social Workers to explore next steps for when the placement ends. This could involve you and your child returning to the community or your child being placed outside of your care. 

​Why do parents need to go into a parent and child placement?  

Parents and their children enter parent and child placements for a variety of reasons. Your Local Authority will be able to tell you the reasons why they feel you need to be in a parent and child placement.  

How do I get in touch with First Steps Fostering?  


Your Local Authority or your solicitor will complete a referral to our team which will detail the worries that have led to them requesting a placement with us. It may be that you are in court proceedings, or are a looked after child yourself - regardless of the reasons, we will look at each referral on an individual basis to see if we have a carer available who can meet your and your children’s needs. If we can't meet your needs, we will sometimes speak to your Local Authority about extra support they could put in place to enable us to provide a placement.  

Parenting Support Plan  


For the duration of your stay with a First Steps Fostering we will seek to support you to be the best parent you can be focussing on helping you to address the worries identified by the Local Authority. You and the carer will have a copy of the parenting support plan which will include set areas of teaching, role modelling and observing. For example, the Local Authority will want to know that you can safely and correctly make a bottle for your baby. The carer will explain to you how to make a bottle and the reasons why bottles are made a certain way. The carer will then show you how to make a bottle and will give you pictures detailing the sequencing. The carer will then observe you making a bottle documenting how this activity went. If it was not done correctly, you will be shown again how to do it and the process repeated. If this process is completed successfully then the carer will continue to monitor and document to ensure consistency.  This approach may be repeated in identified area’s of worry essentially consisting of teaching and reviewing.

You may feel that you are already able to complete certain tasks and do not require the support. We would still complete the sessions as it's important for us to document the areas of parenting you are able to achieve as well as the areas you may be struggling with.  

What can I expect?  


You can expect to be treated with kindness, respect and compassion. We recognise that this is an extremely difficult time for you and your family. From parents we have spoken to in similar situations we understand that you are likely to be worrying about being away from your support network, feeling anxious about what the carers will be like and how you will fit in with the family. You can expect to have your own room, access to the rest of the house, cooking facilities and outside space. You can expect to treat the carer's house as your and your child's home for your stay. You can expect high quality support, a non-judgmental approach and absolute transparency.  

The carer will make daily notes which will document teaching support, observations, strengths and areas to improve on which will be shared with you on a weekly basis as well as the Local Authority. If you disagree with the contents of these recordings, you can expect to have a conversation with the carer about it and this will also be documented.  

You can expect to be listened to if you are worried about the standard of care provided to you and your child. You will have a copy of the complaints procedure and are actively encouraged to use this if you have something to raise.  

You can expect to have time away from the placement which will be agreed by the Local Authority if you wish. During this time the carer will look after your child/children to give you a break. This is usually for 4 hours per week but can be negotiated.  

You can expect the carer to support you in attending important appointments either practically through child care or emotionally through attending with you. These appointments could be to support you with your mental health, parenting assessment sessions or GP appointments.  

You can expect us to keep your child's safety at the forefront of our mind. All of our carers are fully trained, DBS checked and are subject to rigorous assessment processes. You can expect that the carers will follow all safeguarding procedures including if they perceive you to be putting your child at risk.  

What we would expect from you  


We expect that you approach your stay with us with an open mind and seek to use this as an opportunity to learn, develop your skills and to demonstrate the skills you do have. We expect you to care for your child in the placement and to be responsible for purchasing items needed for you and your child. If you do not have the right benefits in place, we will talk to your social worker about how to manage this and it will not prevent your stay with us.  We expect you to be kind, respectful and open with the carers, however if you are unhappy with something, we expect you to raise this, to ensure that you and your child are receiving the best possible service.  We expect you to follow safety plans, to communicate any challenges you are having with us and to adhere to all agreements. We expect you to refrain from using any drugs, alcohol, violence or aggression in the placement. The use of any of these could lead to your placement being terminated. We expect you to follow NHS guidance on safe sleeping, safe feeding and safe handling. We will ensure that you know and understand these.  

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