Training, Support & Development Standards (TSDS)
The Training, Support & Development Standards (TSDS)
A simple foster carers guide to the TSDS, what, why and how
They are a good demonstration of our skills and ability, also they are proof of our professionalism, so embrace them and show them what you’ve got!”
Sarah Anderson, FosterWiki Founder
Introduction to TSDS
The Training, Support and Development Standards were introduced by the government in 2007 and apply to all approved foster carers in England.
The government say:
The TSD Standards provide a national minimum benchmark to set out what all foster carers should know, understand and be able to do within the first 12 months of approval. They are designed to ensure that all foster carers receive relevant induction, training and support, and continuing professional development.
They form part of a national strategy, supported by the Department for Education, to raise the profile of foster carers as valued professionals and to improve and standardise service provision for looked-after children.
As foster carers, we play an extremely important role, a challenging role that requires skills, education and dedication and the TSD standards were introduced by the government.
The TSD standards build on the Induction Standards for staff who work in children’s social care and have been adapted for foster carers, reflecting the unique position of looking after children in a family/home setting.
If you move and are approved as a foster and have successfully completed the Training, Support and Development Standards, your new foster care provider will want to see your Certificate of Successful Completion. This is a demonstration of your skill sets for your new provider.
The TSD Standards for Foster Care are underpinned by the Principles and Values Statement which applies to anyone who works with children and young people and The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Completion of the TSD Standards is a requirement for all approved foster carers in England and is referenced within the National Minimum Standards for Fostering Services 2011.
All foster carers have to do the TSDs regardless of other qualifications as they are specific to the unique role of the foster carer.
There are seven Training, Support and Development Standards that you will be required to
demonstrate and evidence:
- Standard 1: Understand the principles and values essential for fostering children and young people.
- Standard 2: Understand your role as a foster carer.
- Standard 3: Understand health and safety, and healthy caring.
- Standard 4: Know how to communicate effectively.
- Standard 5: Understand the development of children and young people.
- Standard 6: Safeguard children and young people (keep them safe from harm).
- Standard 7: Develop yourself.
The TSD standards aim for the foster carers:
- To give a clear understanding of their role.
- Develop greater confidence and clarity in their practice.
- Demonstrate an outline of essential knowledge and skills.
- To recognise the development of their professionalism.
- Create a pathway to further learning and development.
How to do it
There is the standard government evidence workbook you download here:
Some carers fill them in online and type in answers, while some prefer to print out the pages and fill them out manually and keep them in a ring binder.
It can sound complicated and a bit daunting, to begin with, but once you get into the swing of it you will find it easy.
The government guidance
If you open the government guidance you will find a section-by-section (including all the subsections) guide on how to fill each out, it’s a simple guide and very helpful:
Basically, in each box, you write an example of how you demonstrated that standard in your practice or learning.
At first, it can be hard to come up with all the answers but don’t “overthink” it, the answers can be simple and when you start to think about the question you will identify all sorts of situations to draw on to evidence that standard.
Where you have to demonstrate your knowledge or understanding you can refer to FosterWiki for ideas about what this includes and what they are requiring.
For instance, there are pages on ‘The Role of the Foster Carer’ and ones on supervision, professionalism, support, contact with family, confidentiality, record keeping, therapeutic care, teenagers/transitions, babies, extracurricular activities, county lines, food, disability, birth children, the Foster Carer’s Charter (what to expect from your service) and many many more, these pages show in an easy simple to read way, what’s required, the principles and what National Minimum Standard or legislation underpins each one and will assist you in writing up your TSD’s. Check out the New Foster Carers Toolkit here.
Here is an example:
Section 5: Understanding the development of children and young people. Under section 5 there is a box 5.5 asking you to demonstrate/evidence how you supported educational potential, here is an idea of how to do that (from the government guidance):
Exemplar: Standard 5.5b Supporting Educational Potential
T has been in foster care with me for 3 years. As he is a complex and challenging young person, I get support from a therapeutic worker who offers advice and support around managing his behaviour.
I also work closely with the staff at his school who are experienced with looked-after children.
I have close links with one named person for looked-after children and we speak on the phone about once a week. I learnt at T’s review that he had not been doing his homework.
When I discussed this with the school, they suggested that they take him out of one lesson per week to catch up with homework.
This seems to have taken some pressure off him and the school has agreed to let him continue with this. Working together with the therapeutic worker, school staff and social worker has really helped T receive consistent messages and support, which helps him feel secure and safe.
Here’s another example, also from section 5 on understanding the development of children and young people, this time 5.3 on evidencing how you are promoting a young person’s eventual transition to independence:
Exemplar: Standard 5.3 Transitions (Also meets 5.1c and 4.1d)
P has been in foster care for 13 years and has been placed with me for the past 4 years. She is now 18 years old and I have been helping her prepare for adulthood and independent living over the past few years. Some of the ways I have helped P include:
- Support with decision-making and encourage P to develop her own opinion.
- Teaching her basic recipes and cooking skills.
- Involving her in household chores and talking to her about safety at home.
- Supporting and encouraging her to continue her education.
- Helping her with financial planning and budgeting.
These are just some of the ways that we are helping P get ready for independence. As someone who has been brought up in foster care most of her life, she is uncomfortable and wary of new situations. This means she needs additional encouragement, support, love and patience until she is able to deal with new situations.
At the beginning you will be asked about a principles and values statement, it’s good to note that these are the same principles and values that underpin all the induction standards for staff and carers who work with children, young people and their families.
You are asked to show your understanding of these values and principles and how you promote them.
Here is the government guide to the principles and standards:
The welfare of the child or young person is paramount.
Carers contribute to children and young people’s care, learning, development and safeguarding. This is reflected in every aspect of practice and service provision.
Carers support parents and families who are partners in the care, learning, development and safeguarding of their children, recognising they are the child or young person’s first, and in most situations, their most enduring carers and educators.
Carers are integral to the team supporting children and young people.
The needs, rights and views of the child or young person are at the centre of all practice and provision.
Individuality, difference and diversity are valued and celebrated.
Equality of opportunity and anti-discriminatory practice is actively promoted. Children’s and young people’s health and well-being are actively promoted.
Children and young people’s personal and physical safety is safeguarded, whilst allowing for risk and challenge, as appropriate to the capabilities of the child or young person.
Self-esteem and resilience are recognised as essential to every child and young person’s development.
Confidentiality and agreements about confidential information are respected as appropriate unless a child or young person’s protection and well-being are at stake.
Professional knowledge, skills and values are shared appropriately in order to enrich the experience of children and young people more widely.
Social inclusion and advancement of children and young people are actively promoted as specified in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
So in these boxes, you will evidence of how you do these things in practice.
Let’s have a look at the first box ‘Principles and Values’, your evidence, what do you do to demonstrate these? We asked a member of the FosterWiki team, she said she would write something like this:
We work in a child-centred way and listen to her taking her wishes and feelings into account, this includes making sure we have specific foods, taking her on outings with other foster carers with children from similar backgrounds and promoting family time and contact to the fullest.
When she arrived she had very low self-esteem but we have worked on that by praising and positively reinforcing the great things about her and she is starting to thrive.”
Of course, every single fostering family and every single foster child is unique, so the evidence will all be different, but from this, you can get an idea and reflect on your own practice to find examples.
When you don’t have an exact example you may put what you would do, or draw on you may have previous experience working with children and young people can use their prior learning and experience as evidence to show that they can meet the standards.
Sometimes one example fits into a couple of sections and repeating that is fine, and sometimes you may only have one piece of evidence for a box, and that’s fine as well.
The TSDs cover just the first 12 – 18 months of practice so you won’t have the unlimited experience to draw on at this point.
You can add other things to your TSD portfolio, in some cases this may be another document with a short accompanying paragraph or a statement from another professional or social worker, you may want to do a short reflective piece of writing evidencing a particular piece of practice, or issue.
How is it signed off?
Your supervising social worker (support/link/worker) will help you complete the workbook and will also sign off on each separate standard, and help you if you are required to add more evidence.
When you have finished the TSD and your social worker has signed it off it goes to a manager, or training officer in your fostering service to check and approve.
You will then be issued a Certificate of Successful Completion.
Don’t forget if you are a FosterWiki Member you can email [email protected] for advice.
Information, Help and Support
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