First Steps Fostering: Keeping families together

Sponsored Editorial

There are many reasons why some parents are unable to live independently in the community – they may have learning needs which make it harder for them to embed parenting skills, they may have experienced an abusive childhood themselves, they may have been in abusive relationships or they may be very young and in care themselves.

There are lots of barriers for some parents which prevent them from being the best parent they can be for their children such as a lack of support from family or friends, poor independent living skills or a lack of understanding of child development and play.


First Steps Fostering provides intensive, time-limited support to help these parents develop their knowledge, motivation and skills to give them the best opportunity to safely care for their children in the community.

First Steps Fostering is an Independent Fostering Agency which specialises in Parent and Child Foster placements. This is when a child, usually of pre-school age, lives in a foster carer's home with their parent(s). First Steps Fostering provides carers with high-quality training, 24/7 support including regular day respite and exceptional financial rewards for the incredible work they do.


Foster carers work with parents to develop their knowledge and skills through role modelling, teaching sessions, reflective conversations and day-to-day support. For one parent, this could involve teaching them how to cook, clean and manage finances. For another, it could be supporting the parent to feed, change and bathe their baby. Parents and their children will live with the foster carer for between 12 and 26 weeks when decisions will be made by Local Authority Social Workers about their future.

First Steps Fostering was developed by four Social Workers with a combined experience of 50 years working in Child Protection and Safeguarding teams. First Steps Fostering ensures all placements are carefully matched with key consideration given to foster carers’ experience, skill set, own children and household functioning. As a small agency, First Steps Fostering know each of their carers well and provides unwavering support which is tailored to their needs.


You’re probably wondering what a parent and child foster placement looks like on a day-to-day basis. Referrals are received from Local Authorities and these are reviewed by the First Steps Fostering team. The referral will be discussed with the foster carer and all information provided for the foster carer to make a decision alongside professionals about whether they feel able to support that parent and child.

Once a placement is matched, there will be a placement planning meeting which sets out what support, supervision and learning opportunities the parent needs. House rules will be discussed, and everyone will be clear on the expectations of the placement.


On one day, the foster carer may take the parent and child to a local stay and play group, on another day the foster carer may support the parent to cook a meal, on another day the foster carer may support the parent to bathe their child. Every day will be flexible and based on the foster carer, parent and child’s needs.

The foster carer’s role is to support the parent in caring for their baby themselves through role modelling, guiding, providing practical support, providing emotional support and providing learning opportunities in everyday life.


Foster carers will be supported by First Steps Fostering to make notes on their observations which will support the decision-making process of the Local Authority. If the decision is made for a parent and child to progress into the community, the foster carer will support this by helping the parent to make links with support services in their area.

If the decision is made that the child is unable to live with their parent in the community, the foster carer will support the child to transition to a member of their extended family, a long-term foster placement or adoption. In some cases, parents find being in a parent and child placement too hard and choose to leave the placement, which would mean the foster carer looks after the baby until alternative plans are made.


Being a foster carer is one of the most important, rewarding and satisfying jobs a person can choose to do, however, it can present challenges. First Steps Fostering is by foster carers’ sides every step of the way providing practical and emotional support, full training and excellent financial rewards. First Steps Fostering truly value their carers and the amazing work they do.

To become a parent and child foster carer within the First Steps Fostering family, you will need a kind heart, a desire to help others and a spare room in your home. If you think you have what it takes, get in touch with the team at First Steps Fostering by emailing or calling 01843 423204 / 07523 695578.

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