Sheila Musgrave was one of the first specialist foster carers. Sheila is a former nurse who has been fostering for the past 22 years. It’s only recently that she’s started caring for mothers and babies. Sheila is currently fostering a young mother and her child. She thinks that specialist foster caring is very different:
“Usually when I look after a child I am like a surrogate mum and doing all the things a mum would do. But with Kylie it’s important I stand back and let her be the mum while I am there to support her with Tia-Louise”.
With Sheila’s guidance, Kylie is already honing her parenting skills: “Sheila’s helped me to read Tia-Louise’s signals and I’m also learning about moving on to the next stage with things like weaning.”
But it’s not just the practical support which is helping Kylie grow in confidence as a young mum. The security of a family environment is also key. In Sheila’s home Kylie has the time and space to relax and develop.
Sheila's experience as a mum, a grandmother and her work as a nurse have all helped her acquire the skills which now mean she can give such valuable support to young mums. She said she’s getting so much out of helping Kylie: “I can see the difference in mum and baby and their personal relationship is lovely to watch.” Meanwhile Kylie’s hope is that soon she can move on and live independently with her daughter: “I would like Tia-Louise to grow up, go to school, make friends and be happy. She has made me so happy and now I just want to keep on being a good mum.”