Home Children, Young People & Families TRUE Fostering’s ‘Outstanding’ Rating Underlines Success of the Revolutionary Therapeutic Fostering Assessment

TRUE Fostering’s ‘Outstanding’ Rating Underlines Success of the Revolutionary Therapeutic Fostering Assessment

by Lisa Carr

The Centre of Excellence in Child Trauma (CoECT) has developed the ground-breaking Therapeutic Fostering Assessment (TFA) – an innovative approach designed to fundamentally transform the foster care assessment landscape.  

After undergoing training with the CoECT, several fostering agencies have already adopted the assessment. Notably, TRUE Fostering, the first agency to implement it, has been recognised as an ‘Outstanding’ fostering agency by Ofsted. 

Sarah Naish, CEO and founder of the CoECT, former foster parent and social worker, who has not only undergone foster assessments personally, but also carried them out; and Sair Penna, Director of the National Association of Therapeutic Parents (NATP), which is also part of the CoECT; spearheaded the development of the TFA. They collectively have extensive first-hand experience in the field and their vision stemmed from observing the challenges in traditional foster care assessments.  

Sarah Naish said: “We’ve seen a pattern where foster parents are given tools but not the foundational understanding. This often led to judgments, resignations, and unnecessary child movements. It’s like teaching someone to paint a wall without preparing the foundational work. The TFA directly addresses these gaps and represents a paradigm shift in fostering assessments. Its success and the positive feedback it’s garnered is a testament to its efficacy. We are eager to see its broader adoption, promoting a UK fostering system that truly addresses the needs of trauma-affected children.” 

Sair Penna added: “Incorporating feedback from seasoned and new foster parents, assessors, and panels, the TFA ensures that the fostering journey starts on the right foot. We are very proud of the positive comments made by the Inspector in relation to the Assessment process.  As this was the first time Ofsted had inspected an Agency using the new format, the Inspector was extremely thorough, especially in relation to the integrated qualification which replaces the need for applicants to complete the TSD (Training, Support and Development Standards), a move that saves huge amounts of time and resources for agencies and local authorities alike.” 

Key features and benefits of the TFA: 

  • Focused Preparation: The TFA ensures potential foster parents are meticulously trained in therapeutic parenting, ensuring improved stability and outcomes for children. 
  • Streamlined Process: It efficiently removes unnecessary jargon and duplication, shifting focus to trauma understanding and child-centric care. 
  • Personalised Assessment: Candidates are encouraged to narrate their experiences, either in writing or through videos, promoting a more in-depth understanding of their motivation and family dynamics. 
  • Comprehensive Training: Tailored to varying levels of fostering experience, the TFA offers training that’s both accessible and beneficial. 
  • Robust Support System: Emphasising the prevention of compassion fatigue, the TFA provides foster parents with a strong support network, ensuring longevity and success in placements. 
  • Efficiency: With feedback highlighting the TFA’s completion within eight to twelve weeks, the assessment not only saves time but also ensures thoroughness. 

The “life highlights” section, a recent addition, offers a chronological account of significant life events, providing an immediate understanding of a candidate’s experiences.” 

The TFA is being used by fostering agencies and local authorities in England, Scotland, and Wales and according to the CoECT, feedback from these authorities has been overwhelmingly positive. 

For more background information on the TFA, click here: Brand New: The Therapeutic Fostering Assessment – YouTube

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