Yes. The revised National Minimum Standards 2011 state the requirement to complete the TSD standards, and Ofsted will assess providers' progress implementing the standards.
All new foster carers are expected to complete the standards within 12 months of approval. The Department expects foster care providers to implement the standards within these prescribed timescales.
Yes. However, because kinship carers often take care of children at short notice and in difficult circumstances, the deadline for completing the standards has been extended to April 2012. If you're new to fostering a family member or a friend’s child you have up to 18 months to complete the standards. The TSD standards for family and friends foster carers reflect the particular role that family and friends carers take with a child known to them.
Yes. In response to views from short break carers and foster care providers, a version of the standards has been developed specifically for short break carers. It includes guidance for managers and a workbook that is relevant to the task of carers offering short breaks for children and young people who have a disability or complex health needs.
Yes. Where joint carers are completing one workbook, each carer must provide evidence for all the standards. However, some of this evidence may be joint. An obvious example is Standard 3.2 on accommodation. In some cases, where the majority of the caring is done by one of the carers, some of the outcomes will not be relevant to the secondary carer. If this is the case, it is acceptable for the carer to write a comment in the evidence box which reflects this.
Yes. If a foster carer has completed a Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care then they will already have much of the evidence they need to show that they have the skills and competencies to achieve the TSD standards.
This can be confirmed by an NVQ assessor, but it isn't enough for the assessor to write a blanket statement covering the whole workbook. The foster carer will need to cross-reference evidence from the NVQ against the TSD standards and provide new evidence where there are any gaps.
Carers who have completed their NVQ have a good head-start to complete the standards. Two example documents produced by the sector which map the standards to the appropriate NVQ units are available on the National standards for foster carers page.
Yes, the standards need to be used with all foster carers as a national benchmark.
However, there should be a proportionate approach to using the standards with experienced foster carers and particularly with foster carers who bring a high level of knowledge and skill to the role. A supervising social worker working with an experienced foster carer should be able to confidently sign off that the standards are met.
The standards are at an induction or foundation level and set out what foster carers should know and be able to do within 12 months of approval. Assessors should be wary of assessing the outcomes at too high a level or demanding too much in-depth knowledge.
The workbook contains sample questions and activities and examples of evidence. These are for guidance and assessors may substitute other questions. Evidence should reflect the outcome, rather than the question. The level and sufficiency of evidence is not the same as is required for a full NVQ, but will provide foundation evidence towards one.
A minority of foster carers may need longer to complete the standards, particularly in the following situations:
This is acceptable, although it is good practice to renegotiate a time frame for completing the standards in these situations. Check whether issues can be resolved by looking at different approaches. A proportionate and common sense approach should be considered where circumstances require it.
The requirement for all carers to complete the standards is written into the revised National Minimum Standards 2011, and will form part of Ofsted inspections, so it is important to keep a record of any issues of non-compliance.
The fostering service provider will need to determine agency policy where foster carers are unable or refuse to complete the standards. The fostering panel will need to consider whether continuing approval as a foster carer is appropriate. When doing so, both the impact of the failure to meet the TSD standards, and of deregistration on the care of children and young people should be fully considered.
A common sense approach should be taken. Providers should identify which of the standards have been addressed and how the foster carer's individual learning will be evidenced in the workbook. Any gaps should be written into a personal development plan and addressed.
Yes. The standards are still relevant, even to specialist foster providers. However there should be a proportionate approach to using the standards with experienced foster carers and particularly with foster carers who bring a high level of knowledge and skill to the role.
Experienced foster carers with high levels of skill and knowledge are likely to be able to evidence that they meet most if not all of these standards which are about a beginning level of practice.
Providers of specialist training or development programmes should therefore identify which of the standards have been addressed. Then take a common sense approach to signing off the foster carer's individual learning as evidenced in the workbook.
Then ensure that the continuing professional development needs of the foster carer are written into a personal development plan and addressed.
Yes, the TSD standards are mapped to both of these frameworks. The assessment and approval process and preparation training for foster carers can be used to provide evidence for the standards.
BAAF and the Fostering Network have revised their assessment and training frameworks to include the standards. For example, the revised BAAF Form F (England) now includes in Section B a column for recording evidence against the standards. Fostering Network's Skills to Foster (2nd edition) has been mapped against the standards.
Some providers offer in-house post approval training in areas such as safeguarding and child protection. Your provider will give you information on this.
The workbook gives examples of training resources but providers will need to fit their pre/post approval training to the needs of their foster carers, the children in their care and the role of their agency.
We do not recommend or endorse any particular course or training provider. Many agencies now build their early foster care training around the TSD standards so that any learning can be used as evidence.
The assessor will normally be the supervising social worker, training officer or NVQ assessor. Assessors should have the skills and knowledge to carry out this role.
It's good practice that the person currently responsible for approvals and annual reviews signs off the standards. It is always advisable to provide training in this role if the assessor is not experienced.
A foster carer who is an assessor may provide support to others in achieving the standards, but evidence must be signed off by the responsible person within the agency. It is also considered good practice to encourage experienced foster carers to support new foster carers. A number of agencies are already developing peer mentoring schemes.
All completed workbooks should be signed off by an agency manager or training manager who has not been directly involved in the work. This is so that they are able to check the consistency and quality of the work and that agency standards for training and development are maintained.
Ofsted assessments of fostering services consider how effectively providers are supporting their carers. In 2011 the revised National Minimum Standards stipulated completion of the TSD standards.
The certificate of successful completion can be found in the back of the TSD standards workbook, for service managers to sign-off on completion. This can then be included in the personal development plan.
Providers should record which foster carers have completed the standards successfully. The completed workbook and certificate are the property of the foster carer.
Fostering providers should complete their own translations to meet their foster carers' requirements.
Addressing training needs is the responsibility of fostering service providers. We are, however, working with the sector to explore national materials which will help support the skills, knowledge and training needs of foster carers.
We recommend that foster carers avoid relying on other carer's completed standards for guidance as each workbook reflects an individual's circumstances. To give an idea of what's expected, we've produced practice guidance which gives appropriate examples of how to evidence outcomes.
Information for foster carers and their supervisors about the Training, Support and Development (TSD) standards they need to complete within the first 12 to 18 months following approval.