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She's our foster baby!

If you’re a baby, you should be aware that being seen out on your own with a proud looking man in his fifties will raise eyebrows. Grandparents with babies generally come in pairs, although female-only elder companionship is also common when parents are busy working.
Friends of the man in question will often do a double take, particularly if the man is known to already have children in their twenties, and a wife.
My approach is to calm people’s nerves / suspicions by announcing: “She’s our foster baby.”
Not the product of an affair then, or a sudden grandchild, but a temporary baby in the family. And just as cute, cuddly (and quite often, smelly) as our genetically-linked offspring of the 1990s.

When our first set of kids were growing up it was still quite unusual for dads to take care of their children, to the extent that our local newspaper ran a feature on the subject.
Not quite so much nowadays, but I still get a few shaking heads after I’ve dropped toys, blankets, nappies, vomit etc. on a bus, or when I run out of tissues when discussing politics in a cafe with friends and a snotty nine month old.
Somehow, having that quarter century break puts baby caring into perspective, as I’m sure grandparents know.
You’re a bit more relaxed about things, and can enjoy the experience of nurturing a ‘small human’ (as our son calls her) without the allied sense of panic.
When we signed up to look after 0–2 year olds on Sheffield Council’s fostering service a year and a half ago, we kind of anticipated the broken nights, the bodily effusions, the washing chaos, but maybe weren’t quite expecting how privileged you feel to be a foster carer.
So far we’ve looked after two highly contrasting small humans. We’re very much still learning, and I’m aiming to share our experiences in case you’ve been thinking about fostering yourself, or just want to hear what it’s like.
In the meantime, if you do see a smiling fifty-something bloke with a pram, think again, he could well be a foster carer. Or George Clooney.
Find out more about fostering with Sheffield here

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Knowledge & Resources

Keep abreast of the latest news in the children's services sector.

Children’s social care review officially launches

01/03/2021

The independent review of children’s social care has officially launched after the government announced it would be set up back in January.

The anticipated independent review of children’s social care designed to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children in England was launched by education secretary Gavin Williamson in January. Mr Williamson also announced [...]

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Campaign launched to reduce criminalisation of care experienced children

01/03/2021

A new campaign to reduce the criminalisation of children in care and care leavers across England and Wales has been launched by NYAS.

Care-experienced children currently make up half of those placed in youth custody while children in care in England are six times more likely than other young people to be cautioned or convicted of [...]

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Mental health to be greatest challenge in children’s health in 2040

01/03/2021

The greatest challenge facing children in 20 years’ time will be mental health problems, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has warned.

The College asked almost 300 members what they envisage will be the biggest health issue affecting children and young people in 2040. The top three responses were mental health (43.71%), obesity (31.14%) [...]

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