If you’re interested in fostering a child, you might be wondering about the UK National Standards for foster care. These are set out by the UK government, and give important guidance for fostering services, local authorities and foster carers.
They may seem complicated, but don’t worry – the concepts underpinning them are simple to understand, and if you decide to foster with Compass Fostering, we will guide you every step of the way.
What is the ‘National Minimum Standards’ document?
The UK government lays out the standards in this pdf document. It’s very thorough – which means it’s very long – but at the heart of the document is concern for the well-being of the child and the importance of providing a safe and happy environment.
There are 31 standards in total, and they’re split into two sections: child focused standards and standards of fostering service.
Child focused standards
Standards 1-12 are ‘child focused’, meaning that they consider the child’s welfare and happiness, and offer significant guidelines on how foster carers can support their child’s development.
They include considering the child’s wishes, and the wishes of the important people in their life, in all decisions related to their care. The standards outline the importance of promoting a positive self-image for foster children, encouraging positive behaviour and relationships through excellent care, and supporting children in continuing to have contact with their birth families when it’s safe to do so.
These standards also cover some important issues like safeguarding children, promoting good health and educational attainment, and giving children proper guidance through their time being fostered and leaving care.
Standards of fostering service
Standards 13-31 cover the requirements that a fostering service must provide. These are chiefly to keep the foster child’s best interests at the centre of the decision-making process, and to support the child and their carers as much as possible.
Fostering services have a duty to provide the best fostering home possible for all children in their care. They must run their organisations safely and efficiently, and keep detailed records giving a good overview of every child’s history. They must pay their carers fairly and on time, and provide support and training for carers and staff members alike.
Fostering services are also responsible for making sure that everyone who works within their organisation is suitable to work with children.
What the standards mean for foster carers
The good news for carers is that the standards are designed to help both foster carers and foster children have the best experience possible, with good outcomes for the child.
The actual requirements for foster carers come down to some simple basics: they must have a spare room, and they must be able to provide a safe environment where the child in their care is supported and accepted.
If you’re in the process of becoming a foster carer, the UK National Standards for foster care can give you some guidance on what to expect but you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed by them. Compass Fostering has friendly staff on hand to support you every step of the way – and not just because the standards say we have to! We believe that giving you the help you need to become the best carer possible will lead to the best outcomes for the children in our care.
If you have the space and the desire to foster a child, there’s a good chance that there’s a child out there who could benefit from your help. Check out our Foster care FAQs or get in touch to find out more about the support and training you can get with Compass Fostering.