National Minimum Standards (NMS)

  • Gov Leglislation
  • Author:Department for Education
  • Published:2011
  • Country: United Kingdom

General Introduction to the National Minimum Standards (NMS)

This document contains the National Minimum Standards (NMS) applicable to the provision of fostering services. The NMS, together with Regulations relevant to the placement of children in foster care such as the Fostering Services (England) Regulations 2011 (the 2011 Regulations), form the basis of the regulatory framework under the Care Standards Act 2000 (CSA) for the conduct of fostering services.

The values statement below explains the important principles which underpin these standards.


  • The child’s welfare, safety and needs are at the centre of their care.
  • Children should have an enjoyable childhood, benefiting from excellent parenting and education, enjoying a wide range of opportunities to develop their talents and skills leading to successful adult life.
  • Children are entitled to grow up in a loving environment that can meet their developmental needs.
  • Every child should have his or her wishes and feelings listened to and taken into account.
  • Each child should be valued as an individual and given personalised support in line with their individual needs and background in order to develop their identity, self-confidence and self-worth.
  • The particular needs of disabled children and children with complex needs will be fully recognised and taken into account.
  • The significance of contact for looked after children, and of maintaining relationships with birth parents and the wider family, including siblings, half-siblings and grandparents, is recognised, as is the foster carer’s role in this.
  • Children in foster care deserve to be treated as good parents would treat their own children and have the opportunity for as full an experience of family life and childhood as possible, without unnecessary restrictions.
  • The central importance of the child’s relationship with their foster carer should be acknowledged and foster carers should be recognised as core members of the team working with the child.
  • Foster carers have a right to full information about the child.
  • It is essential that foster carers receive relevant support services and development opportunities in order to provide the best care for children.
  • A genuine partnership between all those involved in fostering children is essential for the NMS to deliver the best outcomes for children; this includes the Government, local government, other statutory agencies, fostering service providers and foster carers.

Download a full copy of the Fostering Services: National Minimum Standards, by the Department for Education from the link on the right-hand side of this page.

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