Training for foster carers

As a Kent County Council foster carer, you’ll be supported with all the skills and training you need to really make a difference to children’s lives. We have a stages of development pathway for all our foster carers, with many different training opportunities. Many of our carers choose to access our specialist training programme as well as our day courses, and we also offer eLearning courses to suit everyone’s needs. Alongside all this, we also offer Diploma Level 3 and 4 courses which enable you to gain professional qualifications.

You will be able to access training on a range of subjects, which will equip you to provide first class care and support to the children you are looking after.

Alongside our day courses, we also offer training programmes such as Fostering Changes, Non-Violent Resistance Training and a Reflective Fostering Programme, which all help you in the day to day support of children living in your home.

We hold conferences each year and invite key speakers to deliver talks on their chosen field. This is a great joint training opportunity for carers and social work staff.

Training timeline

Initial training

After being approved as a foster carer, you will complete the Skills to Foster training.

Year 1

You will complete the year 1 core training, which includes:

  • Safe Care
  • Introduction to Attachment
  • Record Keeping
  • eLearning Safeguarding against Radicalisation the Prevent Duty
  • eLearning Child Protection.

Year 2

You will complete the year 2 core training, which includes:

  • Child Development
  • Allegations Made Against Foster Carers and how to Safeguard Against These
  • eLearning Child Sexual Exploitation
  • an additional optional training course (either virtually or face to face).

Alternatively, you can complete the modules above as 2 eLearning courses.

Year 3 and onwards

In year 3, you can complete either of the following:

  • 3 training courses (either virtually or face to face)
  • 3 eLearning courses.

Mandatory training

All carers have to complete the following courses:

  • Safeguarding against Radicalisation the Prevent Duty (eLearning)
  • Safe Care training (eLearning, virtual or classroom).

Main carers also have to complete our Understanding Trauma course.

Further training

Additional face to face courses are available, including:

  • Life Story
  • Managing Challenging Behaviour
  • First Aid
  • Supporting Anxious Children
  • Adverse Experiences and Attachment
  • Basic Awareness of Autism
  • Understanding ADHD
  • Autistic Girls and Masking
  • Understanding Sensory Processing
  • Autism and Anxiety
  • Meltdowns and Shutdowns
  • Speak and Language
  • eSafety
  • Drugs and Alcohol Awareness
  • Honesty Trust and Lies
  • Eating Problems
  • Medication
  • The Incredible Teenage Brain
  • Mindfulness
  • Contact and Family Time
  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Awareness and Inclusion
  • Street Based Gangs
  • Assessing and Managing Risk
  • Loss and Grief
  • The Importance of Self Care and Interconnectiveness
  • Preparing for Independence
  • Moving In and Moving On
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Faith Matters
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Domestic Abuse.

Ongoing support

After completing 2 years with us as a foster carer you can apply to complete a Level 3 Diploma - Advanced Skills in Foster Care, which provides a comprehensive practice base for foster carers, focusing on child development issues of attachment and trauma and team working.

Once you have completed the Level 3 Diploma, you can apply to complete the Level 4 Advanced Diploma in expert Practice in Working with Traumatised Children, which enables you to learn valuable skills and develop expertise within this field whilst continuing your continuous personal development.

The other specialist training programmes on offer are:

Reflective Fostering Programme (RFP)

Duration: 12 weeks

The RFP is a new programme, developed by staff at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families (AFNCCF), to support foster carers of children aged between 4 and 13 years old. It has a particular focus on strengthening the relationship between foster carers and the child(ren) in their care.

The RFP teaches a child about their emotions, how to recognise them and then how to control them (emotion regulation). reflective fostering involves seeing your child's behaviour from the inside as well as the outside, while paying attention to your own thoughts and feelings as a foster carer. Find out more about the programme on the Anna Freud website.

I like the fact that from the first session it spikes your curiosity and makes you look at how your own life experiences impact on the way we foster. It's a different perspective where you usually look at it from the children's experiences, this instead puts you in the mind of the child whilst looking at your own reactions and what influences them.

Kent foster carer

Fostering Changes Programme

Duration: 12 weeks (1 morning per week during term time)

There are 2 different Fostering Changes courses: one is aimed at carers caring for children between 3 years and 11 years, and another is aimed at carers looking after children aged 12 and over.

It is a practical, skills-based training programme, facilitated by accredited fostering social work staff.  The course usually starts every January. Please advise your local training administrator if you are interested, and we will consider you when the course is being planned.

Non-Violent Resistance

Duration: 8 weeks

Non-violent resistance is an evidence-based model. It is an approach designed by Professor Haim Omer to help parents and foster carers increase their ‘parental presence’ in the face of aggressive and challenging behaviours. The non-violent and direct-action methods originate from non-violent political struggles led by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Non-violent resistance methods do not rely on the child or young person’s co-operation or participation – parents/foster carers and their supporters take one sided action. Parents/foster carers are coached to:

  • be activists in challenging adverse situations
  • de-escalate and reduce conflict
  • claim back space in the family home, refusing to give in to unreasonable demands
  • reconnect with the child/young person though very specific and tailored methods, based on reconciliation gestures.

Team Teach

This two day accredited training course helps foster carers understand the behaviours of children and young people who may pose a risk to themselves or others. It covers strategies for positive behaviour management, de-escalation techniques and safe physical intervention strategies.

The Solihull Approach

The Solihull Approach aims to increase emotional health and wellbeing through sharing resources and training across the child and family workforce.

Annual conferences

We hold annual conferences each year where foster carers and members of the fostering service can learn together.

In the past we've led discussions on:

  • fostering in today’s world
  • building the bonds of attachment
  • valuing diversity in fostering and talking about inclusion
  • understanding behaviour.

Foster Carer eLearning

We have over 40 eLearning subjects specific to fostering, including:

  • Equality and Diversity
  • Play Therapy
  • Teenage Challenging Behaviour
  • Promoting Positive Contact
  • Children and Domestic Abuse
  • Food Hygiene and Nutrition
  • ADHD
  • Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.