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Foster carer training: resources, payment and support

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This article by Kate Ogilvie, Derek Kirton and Jennifer Beecham examines key aspects of training for foster carers, using quantitative and qualitative data from a study of remuneration and performance in foster care. Three main issues are discussed: the training undertaken by foster carers and whether it is thought adequate; foster carer and supervising social worker views on NVQ level 3 training and payment for skills schemes; and how foster carers can be encouraged to attend training regularly. The study found fairly high levels of participation in training among foster carers who generally expressed satisfaction with its quality. However, very few agencies had clear training strategies. NVQ training was broadly welcomed but concern was expressed regarding its suitability for all foster carers and its relationship to high-quality foster care. There was scope for improving attendance through attention to organisational issues such as venues, timing of courses and availability of child care. Finally, the relevance of training to debates on professionalisation and the place of foster carers within the children's workforce are considered.

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