Our training & 
support programme

Here’s an overview of the training and support we provide, to ensure you feel prepared and ready to begin your 
foster parent journey with us.

Specialist training designed to give confidence & develop your skills


“We’re committed to raising the overall quality of our service.”

Our learning and development programme is a key part of Anchor’s strategy to raise the overall quality of its service. Our approach is to help parents sustain effective relationships with the children in their care, while also ensuring our staff is equipped to support foster parents in realising this objective too.

The best care, starts with the best training

As a not-for-profit our number one objective has, and always will be, to provide exceptional levels of care to children and young people.

We believe high levels of care can only be achieved and sustained with a dedicated learning and development programme that supports both foster parents and frontline staff to continually learn and develop key competences.

Our programme not only gives you the confidence and skills you need to do your job well, but we also provide lots of opportunities to develop with us.

Your journey starts before you get your first child and continues throughout your time with us.

NB. All our training is aligned to the TSD Standards Training Framework.

Your learning and development journey

Pre approval - (Preparation training)
Newly approved - (Year 1)

Pre-approval training

Eager to start your foster parent journey but anxious about being ‘ready’ to accept your first child? Don’t worry. Our pre-approval preparation training starts before you’ve even been approved and works to ensure you have all the skills you need to foster.

This training includes:

  • Basic skills to foster e.g. Understanding the role of a foster parent, how to provide safe care, first aid, and record keeping
  • Level 1 Child Protection
  • Introductory courses on Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Families (TCIF)
  • TSDS and other specific courses/tasks to cover any relevant knowledge gaps
  • Birth children preparation.

Not only will this course support your assessment and application, but you’ll benefit from gaining a comprehensive overview of the key principles of foster care before becoming a foster parent. This will give you a good idea of what to expect from the role on a day-to-day basis.

And remember if you’ve passed the initial assessment process with us, that’s all you need to start your training. (That means you will have completed an initial visit and received confirmation that your application form has been accepted). You don’t need any qualifications to be a foster parent, as we’ll provide you with all the training you need.

Mandatory training

All foster parents in the UK must complete a series of mandatory courses. Some of these you will complete once, others will require periodic refresher training.

Within your pre-approval preparation training you’ll complete:

  • Skills to foster
  • The foster parent role
  • Child protection

You’ll then complete two additional courses post-approval:

  • Safeguarding
  • First aid*  (This first aid course is built upon in the first year, focusing specifically on paediatric first aid and is then repeated every 3 years thereafter).
    *Refreshers required

Most of our courses can be conducted online and each course completion supports toward your TSDS workbook.

Newly-approved parent 
training (Year 1)

During your first year with us, we’ll work with you closely to build on your basic knowledge through hands-on learning, mentoring, supervision, and other formal training.

In Year 1 you’ll cover:

You’ll also be invited to take part in: 

  • Specialist courses, where relevant
  • Support groups (main and second foster parent both welcome)
  • A mentorship programme.

*Refreshers required

NB. We’ll also work alongside with you during this year to help you get your TSDS portfolio completed. This is a compulsory part of becoming a foster parent and must be finished within a year of gaining approval.

Ongoing training 
(Year 2 and beyond)

During your subsequent years with us, our training programme focuses on embedding therapeutic parenting approaches and other relevant specialist knowledge and skills.

Our approach involves ongoing mentoring (provided by experienced foster parents and Supervising Social Workers (SSWs), reflective sessions and supervision (by SSW and in support groups), formal training, plus other learning activities.

The training during Year 2 and beyond consists of:

  • Learning activities as identified in your Personal Development Plan (PDP)
  • Support group attendance (for main foster parent, second parents also welcome)

The important role of PDPs

PDPs are designed to identify and meet ongoing learning needs for individuals, through a range of activities.

To ensure all our parents consistently have the skills they need to support a child in their care, Anchor pays huge attention to developing PDPs together with foster parents, and we monitor efficacy and progress through reflective supervision.

Therapeutic training

Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Families (TCIF) is central in our overarching learning and development programme and takes the form of group training.

With the management of difficult behaviour continuing to be a top challenge, we see TCIF as a key part of how we can improve the standard of care we provide to children and young people. It’s so important in fact that all Anchor frontline staff, managers, and new foster parents are required to attend a TCIF training course. TCIF introduction and refresher training are also added for foster parents and staff periodically.

What is the course about?

The course is built upon a proven set of concepts and methods that help individuals better equip themselves for managing their emotions and reactions; demonstrating how crisis situations can be valuable learning opportunities.

The training aims to give parents a good understanding on what trauma is, how it impacts child development and attachment. It also equips them with practical tools on how to effectively teach children to manage their feelings of frustration, anger and loss in a socially appropriate and safe way.

Note: We introduce the basics of TCIF during our Pre-approval training and then we look to develop key skills around the key therapeutic principles during Year 1, Year 2 and beyond.

Training designed for you, by you

We work hard to continually improve our training offering, which is all part of our commitment to raising the quality of our service. We conduct regular feedback sessions within our fostering community, to ensure not only that our training is fit for purpose, but that we are also delivering it in a way that suits you.

Some examples of how we have tailored our service, following feedback includes:

  • We now offer more higher quality group training activities. To avoid the training becoming repetitive, we’ve adjusted our methods and these now better support and complement our TCIF training and therapeutic parenting courses.
  • We now offer more guidance and support when planning L&D activities, including sitting-in and giving feedback. This is to give more attention to the quality assurance of training providers (external and internal) in all areas.
  • We have improved guidance on the available learning activities. We’ve achieved this by providing more details of the course aims, objectives and content and guidance on alternative learning activities.

Meeting individual needs of a foster parent and their family is also crucial, that’s why we:

  • Offer group training alternatives. We now use more online training, webinars, and facilitated support groups to support individual learning styles and to encourage more engagement.
  • Focus on creating tailored Personal Development Plans (PDPs) for every foster parent. These help us to identify and meet individual learning needs. Supervising Social Workers give strong attention to developing PDPs and work with foster parents closely to monitor how these are going.