Meet Jasmyne and Michelle, an inspirational mother-daughter duo who are both foster carers in Wigan.
Michelle, 44, and her daughter, Jasmyne, 27, both specialise in parent and child fostering, which involves looking after a parent and their baby with the aim of keeping them together as a family unit where possible and to help the parents develop the skills they need to look after their little ones. Between them, the pair have helped seven young and vulnerable parents.
Although they both didn’t set out to care for young parents and their babies, they said passing on their parenting skills to young mums has been extremely rewarding.
Michelle and Jasmyne have undertaken training in parent and child fostering, something there is a real shortage of across the North West of England. The mums or dads, and their babies live with the foster carer for around 12 weeks with the aim of giving them the skills they need to look after their babies and keep them together as a family unit.
Michelle said: “My heart breaks for the young mums who have grown up without support, especially because I know what it’s like. I had Jasmyne when I was 16 and I didn’t have the support that I needed as a young mum and didn’t have the guidance or advice on what to do next. She has been the best thing that has happened to me, but it was hard having a baby at a young age.
“I’d always known that fostering was something that I wanted to do, as a way to share my knowledge with other mums, having experienced similar situations to them. I just felt like I could help so many other mothers secure a better future for themselves and their children.”
After seeing the positive impact her mum had on the lives of the young mums and their babies, Jasmyne decided to follow in her footsteps and apply to become a foster carer herself. She said: “Having witnessed what my mum did for other young mums, I thought that perhaps fostering was something I could do too. I’m also a young mum, I had my now nine-year-old daughter Lily at 18 and I couldn’t imagine going through it without the support of my family.”
Together, both Michelle and Jasmyne use their own experiences to help young parents in need. From teaching them how to change a nappy, cook and budget, the duo helps the young mums reach milestones they may not have been able to otherwise.
They both agree that the rewards of seeing those they are looking after flourish is extremely motivating. Michelle said: “Seeing them develop a closer bond with their babies and develop the confidence in their roles as mums, is incredible to witness. It makes us feel like we’re doing something right. We also like to stay in touch with the mums and their babies when they leave us. We regularly get texts and photos with updates on how they’re doing and once Covid regulations relax, we’ll be able to visit them.”