Salford Children's Services Procedures Manual Salford City Council website
Greater Manchester SCB Procedures
Greater Manchester SCB Procedures Greater Manchester SCB Procedures

3.2.4 Mother and Baby Placements Policy

SCOPE OF THIS CHAPTER

Mother and Baby placements are used on the occasion when a young person who is Looked After by the Local Authority, and who is under the age of 18, has a baby and requires, pre or post birth, additional support, or where there are child protection concerns.


Contents

  1. Looked After Young Person up to Age 18 and Baby where there are no Child Protection Concerns and the Young Person is Expected to be the Primary Carer
  2. Looked After Young Person up to Age 18 and Baby where there are Sufficient Child Protection Concerns and Young Person is Expected to be the Primary Carer, but Foster Carer may Bear much of that Responsibility
  3. All Cases - Threshold for Intervention by Carer


1. Looked After Young Person up to Age 18 and Baby where there are no Child Protection Concerns and the Young Person is Expected to be the Primary Carer

Mother is the Looked After Child/Baby is not Looked After

Financial Arrangements

The foster carer would receive the  Foster Care Allowance and Skills Payment for the Looked After Young Person. The foster carer would also receive the  Foster Carer Allowance per week to cover the extra support required of a carer who is looking after a young person who also has a baby, which includes all support the carer is giving to the mother and baby as well as the additional cost of care, like nappies and food and clothing, not adequately covered by child benefits received by the young person.

The care of the baby would rest with the mother and it should be agreed at the Placement Planning Meeting that an element of the maintenance allowance goes to the mother to meet the needs of the baby and this should be calculated at Benefits levels.

Foster Carer Support Package

The foster carer would receive the standard support package from Fostering and  this would include visits from the Fostering Supervising Social Worker, and  the child’s social worker, as well as yearly reviews, Looked After Reviews and potential assistance with necessary expenses not covered by the allowances above.

Placement Support Package

The Placement Planning Meeting, which ideally happens prior to the commencement of a placement but statutorily must happen within  5 working  days of the start of the placement, is held to negotiate a Working Together Agreement which can then be drafted and signed by the foster carer, the mother of the baby, the child's social worker and the foster carers' supervising social worker and which clearly sets out the expectations of the placement and all parties involved in supporting the placement.


2. Looked After Young Person up to Age 18 and Baby where there are Sufficient Child Protection Concerns and Young Person is Expected to be the Primary Carer, but Foster Carer may Bear much of that Responsibility

Mother is Looked After Child/Baby is Looked After Child

In these circumstances, the arrangements would only be set up if the baby was Looked After, i.e. where the mother agreed that the baby would be in Section 20 Accommodation or where the baby was subject to an Interim Care Order or full Care Order.

In these circumstances, it would be good practice, (and requirement if the Baby had a Child Protection Plan) for the Baby to have their own social worker independently of the Mother’s, so that safeguarding concerns and issues, together with the best interests of this child, can be clearly addressed.

Good communication between respective social workers is essential to ensure there is a clear ‘balance’ of interests maintained and both Looked After Children have their needs and best interests met.

Financial Arrangements

The foster carer would receive the S Foster Care Allowances  and Skills Payment relevant to the ages of both of the Looked After Children in the placement. Although the primary care of the baby rests in most instances with the birth mother, it would be expected that the foster carer has a responsibility to both Looked After children in the placement and the level of support offered by the foster carer should be negotiated at the start of the placement and regularly reviewed to enable the birth mother to develop parenting skills but feel supported in doing so.

Foster Carer Support Package

The foster carer would receive the standard support package from Fostering and this would also include visits from the fostering supervising social worker, the mother’s social worker as well as the baby’s social worker.

Additionally, there would be yearly Fostering Reviews Reviews, Looked After Reviews (for both Mother and Baby separately) as well as Child Protection Conference Reviews  where this was appropriate.

There would also be potential assistance with necessary expenses not covered by the allowances.

Placement Support Package

The Placement Planning Meeting, which ideally happens prior to the commencement of a placement but statutorily must happen within  5  working days of the start of the placement, is held to negotiate a Working Together Agreement that can then be drafted and signed by the foster carer, the mother of the baby, the child's social worker and the foster carers' supervising social worker, that clearly sets out the expectations of the placement and all parties involved in supporting the placement. In instances where the foster carer is being asked to contribute their opinion about the mother's ability to parent, a pro forma for recording observations needs to be provided to the carer.

The foster carer must be able to evidence they have the assessment skill set to adequately provide information to the child's social worker as requested (this evidence may be in the form of a formal qualification, advanced training and/or experience) and the expectations must be made clear in writing to all parties.


3. All Cases - Threshold for Intervention by Carer

In all of the above circumstances, there may arise a situation /s where the foster carer feels that she/he should intervene because of concern for the safety of the child. The threshold for such intervention, which is rare, should be clearly addressed at the Placement Planning Meeting. At this point, the birth parent should understand and sign up to an agreement that the safety of the child is paramount and if the foster carer needs to exercise judgement over suspected harm, the parent is expected to comply.

If either mother or child, or both, are Looked After children, the situation will require immediate contact with either the social workers or the Emergency Duty Team. They should then negotiate with the mother/parent in relation to next steps. If immediate harm is suspected and the mother is non compliant in allowing the foster carer to assume care of the child, the police should also be called.

If the foster carer at any point assumes care of the child, if not already in place, a fee is payable from that point until it is formally agreed that the birth parent resumes care. The fee will be payable for a period of at least 48 hours whether or not the foster carer assumes care for that period, or for the duration of the time s/he is primary carer. 

End