1. Caring for children
  LEVEL 1 LEVEL 2 LEVEL 3 LEVEL 4
1.1 An ability to provide a good standard of care to children which promotes healthy emotional, physical, sexual development as well as their health and educational achievement.

An ability to demonstrate a good standard of care to foster children as outlined in Level 1, which provides evidence of under-standing and sensitivity to the effect separation from their families has on children, and takes appropriate account of a child's age, gender, culture, race, sexuality and level of ability.

An ability to show how a foster child has been helped to deal with their own feelings about their experiences, which may include helping prepare and move a child in a planned way to a new family.
As in level 2 plus an ability to demonstrate specific examples of work to enable a child to develop a positive identity/self esteem, where complex issues are involved which may include planned work with children alongside other professionals As in Level 1, 2, 3 plus an ability to demonstrate these skills with children who have experienced multiple separations, and as a result have had few positive attachments and little stability.
1.2 An ability to work closely with children's families, and others who are important to the child. An ability to demonstrate how carers have sought to establish positive relationships with the child's family and others who are important to the child, and under appropriate guidance, from the social worker have collected significant memorabilia for the child An ability to demonstrate how carers have sought to sustain positive relationships with the child's family and others who are important to the child over a sustained period of time, and where conflicts may be present An ability to undertake planned complex contact arrangements under the direction of the child care social worker, which may involve a number of family members, where there is a need for this to be 'supervised'. An ability to maintain records of this contact.
1.3 An ability to set appropriate boundaries and manage children's behaviour within these, without the use of physical or other inappropriate punishment. An ability to evidence under-standing of the reasons underlying a foster child's behaviour and how carers have sought to respond to this behaviour constructively in a way which promotes self-esteem. An ability to identify own strengths and limitations and to manage these appropriately. An ability to select from a range of strategies and choose an appropriate method to deal with a particular challenging behaviour. An ability to use personal stress management techniques which enable carers to sustain these methods/strategies of behaviour management for prolonged periods As in level 3 PLUS an ability to manage sensitively a range of overt and persistently challenging behaviour
1.4 Knowledge of normal child development and an ability to listen to and communicate with children appropriate to their emotional age and understanding.

An ability to clearly identify when a child's physical, social, emotional sexual or intellectual development is unusual; to respond appropriately with the child; and to communicate observations to the social worker.

An ability to demonstrate an understanding of how discrimination and disadvantage can impact on a child's development
An ability to select from a range of creative approaches for engaging, listening and responding to children to assist in promoting their future development As in level 3 plus an ability to demonstrate appropriate adjustments/developments in communication to meet the sometimes extreme and differing communication needs of a range of children
2. Providing a safe and caring environment
2.1 An ability to ensure that children are cared for in a home where they are safe from harm or abuse.

An ability to evidence how the carers have endeavoured to provide a nurturing environment and enabled the child to feel safe and make attachments.

An ability to evidence how the carers have dealt with risks and placed safeguards in the foster home for the protection of children.

 An ability to evidence how the foster home is maintaining health and safety requirements.

As in Level 2 PLUS an ability to provide a safe and caring environment for particularly damaged and vulnerable children who require a very high level of supervision

As in level 3 PLUS for those children who repeatedly place themselves at risk
2.2 An ability to help children keep themselves safe from harm or abuse and to know how to seek help if their safety is threatened. An ability to evidence examples of how carers have worked appropriately with children to raise their awareness about keeping themselves safe, ensuring that opportunities for the child to obtain help if necessary are appropriate to their age and understanding (including information regarding the Advocacy Service) In cases where a child has been abused, an ability to reinforce for a child that they are not to blame As in Level 2 PLUS an ability to evidence work with a wider range of children who are more vulnerable to abusing adults

As in Level 3 PLUS for those children who repeatedly place themselves at risk

3. Working as part of a team
3.1 An ability to record, to collaborate with other professional workers and to contribute to the Department's planning for the child/young person. An ability to assess/analyse in recordings and an ability to bring observations of the child to professional planning forums in order to progress the plan for the child An ability to carry out more complex tasks (in collaboration with other professionals) which demand greater responsibility as defined within the plan for the child. This will include advocating on behalf of the child were appropriate An ability to work with other professionals on a complex Care Plan in which there will be a high level of monitoring and recording
3.2 An ability to communicate effectively An ability to communicate sensitively and to recognise the need to empower children to express their views An ability to maintain constructive communication in situations where there is a conflict of opinion or interest An ability to communicate views effectively, demonstrating a sound knowledge of issues relating to child development, separation and loss, and the impact of disadvantage and discrimination on children.
3.3 An ability to keep information confidential An ability to evidence understanding of the need for maintaining confidential information (written and oral) and to demonstrate safe arrangements for storing confidential information in the foster home An ability to work with very sensitive information/material involving complex issues of confidentiality  
3.4 An ability to promote equality, diversity and rights of individuals and groups within society. An ability to evidence an understanding of how certain groups and individuals in society are disadvantaged, and to demonstrate work with children, their families professionals, and other groups which has recognised and valued difference between people and minimised unfair discrimination An ability to promote equality, diversity and the rights of individual children by actively challenging discrimination. An ability to develop networks which reflect diversity and provide positive role models and opportunities for children An ability to demonstrate anti--discriminatory parenting to a wider range of children with differing needs.
4.  Own Development
4.1 An ability to appreciate how personal experiences have affected themselves and their families, and the impact that fostering is likely to have on them all. An ability to actively reflect on how personal life experiences have impacted on fostering and how fostering has affected the carers and their families. An ability to identify (with the Supervising social worker) how this reflection can be used to positively enhance the carer's fostering career An ability to evidence how the carers approach to fostering and awareness of their skills has positively developed as a result of on-going reflection An ability to evidence the carers' continued use of reflective skills for their own and their families development, and to work with other carers/applicants to assist their understanding and development in this area
4.2   An ability to demonstrate that the carers have used and valued different types of relationships/ sources of support as a foster carer, and can identify their future support needs. An ability to create and sustain a network of supportive contacts as a foster family, and also to actively support other carers/fostering groups

An ability to demonstrate how the carer can develop a role in sustaining foster care support groups

4.3 An ability to use training opportunities and improve skills

An ability to reflect on current skills, attitudes and knowledge and to integrate new knowledge into fostering practice.

To evidence 20 hours training/learning in the 12 months since approval.

An ability to maintain a fostering training record and portfolio, with assistance from the Supervising social worker.

As in Level 2 PLUS an ability to show an awareness of how carers influence group training situations and how they can contribute to the development of foster carer training.

To evidence a further 20 hours training/learning in the year since achievement at Level 2,

As in Level 3 PLUS an ability to demonstrate contributions to the development of training opportunities for carers.

 

To evidence 40 hours training/learning in the two years since achievement of Level 3.
4.4 An ability to sustain positive relationships and maintain effective functioning through periods of stress. An ability to recognise the effect of stress on self and family and to seek appropriate help in order to ensure that this stress does not impact negatively on the child. An ability to 'step back' from a challenging and stressful situation with a child and not take it personally. As in Level 2 PLUS an ability to evidence awareness of the range of coping strategies employed by the carers and their family to deal with different stresses, which enable a sustained positive consistent commitment to foster children. An ability to maintain a positive attitude and behaviour towards a child and their family during periods of prolonged stress/challenging behaviour.