Training for foster carers

Training, Support & Development Standards for Foster Care

The Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) is a Government organisation that has been responsible for ensuring that all people who work with children have the best possible knowledge, information and training to help them care for children and young people.

The CWDC introduced a set of Training, Support & Development Standards for foster carers, effective from April 2008, to ensure that fostering agencies have properly prepared foster carers for their work with children and their families. The CWDC was abolished from 01 April 2012, and its functions were taken over by a number of other agencies.

These Standards are there to ensure that foster carers have a good understanding of the key tasks in caring for children i.e. promoting healthy eating, managing behaviour, as well as the key policies, for example, confidentiality and legislation i.e. National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services 2011, affecting their work as foster carers.

From April 2008, all newly approved carers have been required to complete the Standards training Workbook (one per fostering household) within one year of being approved. 

Foster carers demonstrate that they are able to meet the outcomes of the Standards through completing a Workbook. The Workbook is divided into 7 sections, covering the 7 Standards which must be completed in your first year as a Foster Carer.

There are 7 Standards:

  • Standard 1 - Understand the Principles and Values essential for Fostering Children
  • Standard 2 - Understand your Role as a Foster Carer
  • Standard 3 - Understanding Health and Safety and Healthy Caring
  • Standard 4 - Understand how to Communicate Effectively
  • Standard 5 - Understand the Development of Children & Young People
  • Standard 6 - Safeguard Children
  • Standard 7 - Develop Yourself

We feel that all of our training courses can help foster carers to meet the Standards, as outlined in the training programme.

We are also supporting carers in meeting the Standards through holding 2 one day workshops, facilitated by members of the Fostering Team, on each Standard, and these will be available twice every year.  Foster Carers can also be supported to complete the Standards by their Supervising Social Worker.

Mandatory Courses in the New Training Programme

The training route for carers involves a core set of 7 ‘Mandatory’ courses for all carers as follows:

1.    Positive Interventions for Foster Carers

2.    Working Together in Child Protection for Foster Carers

3.    Safer Caring

4.    First Aid - Paediatric

5.    Attachment

6.  Meeting the Needs of BAME Children (new for 2019)

7.  Contact (new for 2019)

We ranked the courses in terms of their level of importance for carers entering their first year of fostering. For example, Safe Caring is clearly a crucial issue for all foster carers that they need to learn more about in Year 1 of their fostering.

We feel that to split the mandatory programme over 2 years will be more manageable for carers and represents a realistic target for carers to complete.

It will also provide a clear benchmark for the Fostering Panel to monitor attendance at training when carers' first Annual Reviews are presented to Panel.

We would like to remind foster carers that both newly approved foster carers and carers who have been approved for a number of years are required to complete the Mandatory programme. We believe that experienced carers will benefit from refreshing their knowledge regarding these topics and sharing their knowledge and experience with other carers.

From July 2019 the enhanced payment received at two years will be dependent on the mandatory training and TSD Workbook having been completed.

Your supervising social worker will discuss your training needs with you and this will be reviewed annually at your Foster Carer Review.

We will be asking supervising social workers to prioritise discussing training with all carers on a regular basis during home visits, with a clear expectation that carers attend all the mandatory training within a given timescale.

The details of this are contained in the Payments to Brighton and Hove foster carers and financial issues section of the Foster Carers Handbook.

Mandatory Courses in the New Programme

In addition to the mandatory training, the programme has a number of additional courses that have been developed from discussions at the working party meetings as well as courses from the Children and Families' Programme.

We are very open to ideas from carers regarding courses that you would like us to put on in the future, so if you have any suggestions please email us on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  marked for the attention of John Donnelly or Lucy Bannister.

Supporting Foster Carers to attend Training

Where possible the times of training have been altered to take place within school hours, to make it easier for carers to attend.

Foster carers with pre school age children can apply to the Fostering Team for a contribution towards the costs of arranging childcare to enable them to attend training. The budget for this is limited and details are available from your supervising social worker.

We currently have a parking arrangement with Tescos of Hove for Foster Carers accessing training at Hove Town Hall, please ask for details.

Course Non-Attendance

There have been a number of occasions where courses have been undersubscribed on the day due to non-attendance without notification. This has led to many carers being unable to attend who were on the waiting list, when places were available on the day.

If you are unable to attend a course, you should email the Fostering Inbox on  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to cancel your place at the earliest possible opportunity. If you do this before the day, your form will be kept for a future date.

When a course is oversubscribed, application forms for courses are kept and a person will be given a place on a course at the next available date. Similarly, if someone calls to cancel their place on a course, their form will be kept and they will be given a place on the next available date.

If a person does not show for a course or cancels on the day of the course, their form will NOT be rolled over to the next available date and they will need to RE-APPLY for the course.

Foster Carer's Participation in Training

At present Brighton and Hove foster carers participate in the pre-approval training courses (Skills to Foster) for prospective foster carers and their knowledge and experience is greatly valued by people attending the course.

We would like to develop the involvement of foster carers in training further by encouraging experienced carers to deliver training to other carers on areas where they have knowledge and expertise, such as life story work and preparing young people for independence.

If you are interested in being involved in delivering training please email us:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Training Partnerships with Other Local Authorities

Our training partnership, which enables Brighton & Hove foster carers to access the East and West Sussex foster carer training programmes and vice versa, continues.

This will provide Brighton and Hove foster carers living a distance from Brighton with an opportunity to attend local training and to train together with, and learn from, foster carers from East and West Sussex.

Details of the West Sussex and East Sussex programmes have been circulated to your supervising social worker, so please speak to them if you are interested in attending a West or East Sussex training course.

It has been agreed that there will be a limit of two courses per carer per year, and applications should be discussed with your Supervising Social Worker as per usual. Please state clearly on your Training Request Form whether you are applying for a West or East Sussex course.

New training developments

Since 2015 the Fostering Service has used the framework of Secure Base research to underpin core training both for the Fostering Team and for all foster carers. Secure base is also used as the structure of annual reviews, thus linking training with practice monitoring.

The Fostering Changes Programme is now funded by the Department for Education (D for E) and is aimed at providing practical advice and strategies to foster carers in managing behaviour, and avoiding disruptions, of foster children aged 3-12.

The Programme is behaviourally based and derives from research into parenting skills, attachment, educational attainment and the academic progress of looked after children who are in foster care.

Three social workers from the Fostering Team have attended a 4 day course to enable them to facilitate the Programme, and it is planned that they will run a Fostering Changes programme for our carers within the next 12 months. There is a follow up day where we will focus on how to extend the programme to include working with children of 12+ and we will keep you updated regarding this.

Finally we would like to encourage you again to attend the carers' training programme.

We received many positive comments from carers who attended the previous programme. Carers feel that, through training, they get support and ideas from other carers, they meet and make friends and, most importantly, they have an opportunity to explore new areas of fostering and learn different strategies.

We hope you enjoy the programme.

John Donnelly - Practice Manager, Fostering Team

Clare Tasker - Workforce Development Officer, Workforce Development Team

Key Training contacts

John Donnelly, Fostering Practice Manger Tel: 01273 295444

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Lucy Bannister, Fostering Support Officer, Training Lead Tel: 07702 622596

Emai: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Clare Tasker, training officer Tel: 01273 295282

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




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