Salford Children's Services Procedures Manual Salford City Council website
Greater Manchester SCB Procedures
Greater Manchester SCB Procedures Greater Manchester SCB Procedures

3.12.8 Training Foster Carers

AMENDMENT

This chapter was amended in September 2012 to identify that:

If the foster carer has moved from another fostering service, they are able to use their training and development portfolio, as long as the agreed training and development standards have been met.


Contents

  1. Purpose of the Strategy
  2. Aims
  3. Foster Carer Training
  4. Preparation Training
  5. Rolling Programme
  6. Additional Training
  7. Specialist Training
  8. Training Support and Development Standards
  9. NVQ
  10. Directorate/City Council Training
  11. Individual Training


1. Purpose of the Strategy

  • To ensure that foster carers and their families are trained in the skills required to provide high quality care and to meet the needs of each child or young person placed in their care;
  • To meet the requirements of the National Foster Care Standards;
  • To assist carers to complete the National Standards for Foster Carers training.


2. Aims

  • To provide pre-approval and post approval training for each carer approved;
  • To create opportunities for carers to achieve nationally recognised qualifications.

To achieve this:

  • We produce a training programme for all foster carers. Rolling programme training is repeated to support carers to attend either a day or evening session;
  • All assessments of new carers contain a Personal Development plan that outlines how the Induction Standards for foster care will be achieved in the appropriate timescale. This includes consideration of attendance and learning from the post approval rolling programme of training;
  • The carers’ annual fostering review will include an appraisal of training and development needs and take into account those arising from new legislation and policy developments;
  • Each training course is evaluated individually as well as in conjunction with the annual evaluation of the whole training programme with involvement from carers and family placement social workers;
  • We listening to and respond to feedback about our training programme and constantly seek to make improvements and achieve our aims.


3. Foster Carer Training

The Fostering Service is committed to providing a comprehensive programme of high quality training for foster carers to assist and support them in the task of caring for children. Foster carer’s play a crucial role in promoting good outcomes for looked after children and should be given suitable opportunities to develop skills essential to their role.

There is a clear expectation that all approved carers should attend training as this is an intrinsic part of fostering. This requirement to engage in ongoing training and development is contained in the Foster Carer Agreement.

The training provided by the Fostering Service reflects the Every Child Matters approach to the well-being of children and young people.

The key components of this policy are:

  • Be healthy;
  • Stay safe;
  • Enjoy and achieve;
  • Make a positive contribution;
  • Achieve economic well-being.


4. Preparation Training

Training is split between pre approval and post approval training. Pre approval training should prepare carers to understand the fostering task and to prepare for first placement.  

All foster carers are required to attend preparation training as part of the assessment and approval process. In this we use The Fostering Network’s “Skills to Foster” as a framework for the preparation group, but with some changes to reflect our preference of exercises, handouts and information that is specific to Salford City Council.


5. Rolling Programme

All approved foster carers have access to a rolling programme of training. This is intended to build on the knowledge gained during the preparation groups and to enable foster carers to develop their skills as they gain practical experience of fostering.

The rolling programme contains 9 modules over approximately a 2 year period. Each module comprises 2 sessions. Both sessions must be attended for the module to be completed. Priority for attendance at rolling programme sessions is given to general/recruited foster carers who have not completed the programme. Approved Friends and Family Carers are also invited and encouraged to attend.

Year one:

  • Current issues in Fostering Practice;
  • Promoting the Health of looked after children;
  • Promoting the Education of Looked after children;
  • Managing Children’s Behaviour;
  • Moving On.

Year two:        

  • Working with Birth Parents;
  • Valuing Diversity;
  • Safe Caring;
  • Communication, Listening and Advocacy.


6. Additional Training

A range of other training sessions is provided each year based on training needs. This information gathered through the supervision and review process.

Priority for attendance at these sessions is given to general/recruited foster carers who have completed the rolling programme modules.

For example training has previously included the following topics:

  • Attachment;
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome;
  • Healthy Eating;
  • Drug and Alcohol Awareness;
  • Speakeasy (sex and relationships);
  • First Aid.


7. Specialist Training

Training is also provided at a more advanced level or to meet the needs of specific foster carers. Attendance at specialist training is by nomination or invitation and is targeted at specific foster carers for whom it is most relevant.

For example we regularly run parenting skills groups with the assistance of the STARLAC project. These are small groups run over a number of sessions that focus on positive parenting of under tens using Webster Stratton techniques or over tens using the Teen triple P parenting programme. Carers are invited depending on the age of child they are approved for.

Foster carers on the Treatment Foster Care or Intensive Fostering Schemes are provided with specialist training prior to placement.

Experienced carers are also asked to contribute to the wider fostering task by taking part in initial visits to prospective foster carers and acting as a buddy to newly approved foster carers. Training for this role is provided to appropriate carers on a regular basis.

A small number of carers have also completed a Training for trainer’s course to enable them to act as co-trainers in the preparation groups. This is provided on an ad hoc basis, as and when the service requires.


8. Training Support and Development Standards

Following the introduction of Children’s Workforce Induction Training, all newly approved carers should meet these standards and have achieved their certificate within 12months of approval (or 12months of fostering).

The pre approval training provides information about the standards and an opportunity to begin to assemble a portfolio of evidence. As part of the assessment a personal development plan is completed that details the carers learning so far and the areas to develop over the first year of fostering in order for them to complete/achieve the standards. This includes training sessions to attend and individual learning objectives.

If the foster carer has moved from another fostering service, they are able to use their training and development portfolio, as long as the agreed training and development standards have been met.


9. NVQ

The Fostering Service is committed to supporting foster carers in obtaining the NVQ Level 3 in Child Care. A number of foster carers are supported through the award each year with assessments carried out by qualified assessors in partnership with Stockport college. Foster carers who have completed all the rolling programme sessions and have demonstrated a continuing commitment to their own skills development are eligible to apply.


10. Directorate/City Council Training

Foster carers are also given the opportunity to attend training or briefing sessions provided by the Directorate/City Council.


11. Individual Training

A range of materials is available within the Family Placement Team to help foster carers expand their knowledge and develop their skills either independently or with the assistance of their family placement social worker, a family placement support worker or a more experienced foster carer. 

Attendance at training is an expectation of all foster carers and forms part of the Foster Carer Agreement. The Fostering Service aims to make training accessible to all foster carers by presenting sessions at a variety of times including daytime and evening sessions. Foster carers are entitled to claim their travelling expenses.

End