Skip to main content

STANDARD 23 - Learning, development and qualifications of staff

Underpinning Legislation



  • Children and foster carers receive a service from staff, volunteers and panel members and decision makers who have the competence to meet their needs.


There is a good quality learning and development programme, which includes induction, post-qualifying and in-service training, that staff and volunteers are supported to undertake. The programme equips them with the skills required to meet the needs of the children, keeps them up-to-date with professional, legal and practice developments and reflects the policies, legal obligations and business needs of the fostering service.


The learning and development programme is evaluated for effectiveness at least annually and is updated where necessary.


New staff and volunteers undertake the Children’s Workforce Development Council’s induction standards, commencing within 7 working days of starting their employment and being completed within six months.


All social workers and other specialists (e.g. medical, legal, educationalists, psychologists, therapists) are professionally qualified and, where applicable, registered by the appropriate professional body. They are appropriately trained to work with children, their families and foster carers, and have a good understanding of foster care and the policies and purpose of the fostering service.


Assessment and appraisal of all staff involved in fostering work takes account of identified skills needed for particular roles and is used to identify individuals’ learning and development needs.


Any staff involved in assessing the suitability of persons to be foster carers are social workers, have experience of foster care and family placement work and are trained in assessment. Social work students and social workers who do not have the relevant experience, only carry out assessments under the supervision of an appropriately experienced social worker, who takes responsibility for the assessment.


Where unqualified staff and volunteers carry out social work functions they do so under the direct supervision of experienced social workers, who are accountable for their work.


Persons joining the central list of persons considered suitable to be fostering panel members are provided with an opportunity to observe a fostering panel meeting.


Each person on the central list is given induction training which is completed within 10 weeks of joining the central list.


Each person on the central list is given the opportunity of attending an annual joint training day with the fostering service’s fostering staff.


Each person on the central list has access to appropriate training and skills development and is kept abreast of relevant changes to legislation and guidance.


The fostering service’s decision-maker is a senior person within the fostering service, or is a trustee or director of the fostering service, who is a social worker with at least 3 years post-qualifying experience in childcare social work and has knowledge of childcare law and practice.