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STANDARD 20 - Learning and development of foster carers


  • Foster carers receive the training and development they need to carry out their role effectively.
  • A clear framework of training and development is in place and this is used as the basis for assessing foster carers' performance and identifying their training and development needs.


All new foster carers receive an induction.


All foster carers, including all members of a household who are approved foster carers, are supported to achieve the Children’s Workforce Development Council’s Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care*. Short break carers who are approved foster carers are supported to achieve the Training Support & Development Standards for Short Break Carers. Family and friends foster carers are supported to achieve the Training, Support and Development Standards for Family and Friends Foster Carers**.

* For information and guidance please visit the Department for Education site - National Standards for Foster Carers.

** Short break carers / family and friends carers may choose to undertake the mainstream Training, Support and Development Standards for Foster Care, instead of the Standards for Short Break Carers / Family and Friends Carers, if this is their preference.


Foster carers are able to evidence that the Training, Support and Development Standards have been attained within 12 months of approval (or within 18 months for family and friends foster carers). For foster carers who were approved as such before April 2008, the Standards are attained by April 2011 (or by April 2012 for family and friends foster carers). Fostering households may use the same evidence workbook.


Foster carers maintain an ongoing training and development portfolio which demonstrates how they are meeting the skills required of them by the fostering service.


Foster carers’ personal development plans set out how they will be supported to undertake ongoing training and development that is appropriate to their development needs and experience.


The reviews of each carers approval include an appraisal of performance against clear and consistent standards set by the agency, and consideration of training and development needs, which are documented in the review report. The foster carer’s personal development plan is reviewed and the effectiveness of training and development received is evaluated. Reviews take into account the views of each child currently placed with the foster carer.


The fostering service is clear and transparent with their foster carers about the level of support available to them and how to access such support.


Support and training is made available to foster carers, including hard to reach carers***, to assist them in meeting the specific needs of the children they are caring for or are expected to care for.

***The Department for Education site - National Standards for Foster Carers provides helpful case studies.


Appropriate training on safer caring is provided for all members of the foster household, including young people of sufficient age and understanding, and ensures that foster carers understand how safer caring principles should be applied in a way which meets the needs of individual children.


All training fits within a framework of equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practice and is organised to encourage and facilitate attendance by foster carers.


In cases where a foster carer moves to a new fostering service, details of the development and training which he or she has undertaken, and of the extent to which the agreed training and development standards have been met, are made available on request to the new provider, and the foster carer is able to take their training and development portfolio with them.