If you’re looking at becoming a foster carer, you might have heard of the national minimum standards for fostering. But what do the UK national standards for foster care mean, and how will they affect you as a foster carer?
The fostering national minimum standards are set out by the UK Government. They provide important guidelines for foster services, local authorities and foster carers. Their main aim is to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children in foster care.
They might seem complicated, but don’t worry – the concepts underpinning them are simple to understand!
At Compass, we’re dedicated to ensuring our foster carers are supported throughout their fostering journey with us. We’ll guide you through every step of the way, including understanding the national minimum standards for fostering!
What Is the National Minimum Standards Document?
The National Minimum Standards is a document from the UK Government, outlining the minimum fostering standards for the UK. It’s a very thorough and long document, but it’s main aim is ensuring that children’s welfare, safety, and needs are always at the centre of their care.
The document forms a regulatory framework for all those involved in fostering. There are 31 standards in total making up this framework.
These 31 standards are split into two sections: child focused standards and standards of fostering service.
The Child Focused Standards
The child focused standards are child-focused, meaning they prioritise the child’s welfare and happiness. These standards provide important guidelines on how foster carers can support their child’s development, ensuring that all the child’s needs are met.
Standards 1-12 of this section include considering the child’s wishes (and the wishes of significant 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.
The Standards of Fostering Service
The Standards of Fostering Service are more focused on setting out the standards of care for fostering that a fostering service must provide.
These standards keep the foster child’s best interests at the centre of the decision-making processes, and aim 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.
Fostering services are also responsible for making sure that everyone who works within their organisation is suitable to work with children.
What Do The Standards Mean for Foster Carers?
The good news for carers is that the fostering minimum standards are designed to help both foster carers and foster children have the best experience possible. This means they work to ensure the best outcome possible for everyone involved.
The requirements for foster carers come down to some simple fostering criteria that all foster carers must meet. Most importantly, 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.
At Compass Fostering, our friendly team is 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.