At TACT we care deeply about research because it is an effective way to get the voices of the children and young people in our care heard. The experiences of the young people that we support are at the centre of our research. This is precisely the reason our policy ideas are so pertinent and powerful.
We believe that care can and should be a positive, transformative experience for every young person. No matter what we do, our motivation is the same: building better lives for children and young people in care. TACT carers and staff work every day to ensure that children and young people are at the core of TACT’s work.
One of the main ways that we gather views of our children, young people and carers is through a regular survey. We conduct face to face interviews with our children and young people across TACT ranging from age 9 to 18. We also survey our foster carers, adoptive parents and social workers to find out their experiences and views of the care system so that we can improve our practice.
We believe that listening to and valuing young people’s views and ideas doesn’t just help us deliver better services and campaign more effectively; it also helps young people reach their potential. We are proud to help young people in our care to find their voice and we are determined to ensure their voices speak loud and clear. The voice of the child will always define what we do.
Language That Cares
Language That Cares is a collaborative effort led by TACT that aims to change the language of the care system. This glossary provides alternatives to the terms commonly used by social care professionals that young people and children find impersonal, obscure and stigmatising. Language is a powerful tool for communication but sometimes the way that it is used in social care creates stigma and barriers to understanding. Language is power, and we want children and young people to feel empowered in their care experience.
TACT is committed to leading the Language That Cares movement. We will continue to consult with children and young people about the language we use, to ensure that ‘Language That Cares’ remains in sync with their views and feelings. We welcome local authorities and other organisations to join us in this endeavour. If your organisation is interested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Compassionate Parenting: What Foster Carers Really Think
Our 2018 yearly survey for foster carers again highlighted the vocational and personally rewarding aspects of being a foster carer.
Our report highlighted key changes that need to be made, including improving the information our carers receive from local authorities about the children they care for. To that end, TACT is piloting an approach in Peterborough that moves towards more asset-based and balanced information, focusing on children and young people’s strengths, not just their needs. The information needs to be focused on what is strong, not what is wrong, and children and young people need to be involved in the process of putting together this information.
Education: Reaching For The Best?
This report presents the findings of TACT’s Education survey conducted in 2017. This survey is the result of face to face interviews with children and young people in care and their foster carers. It gave TACT a rich vein of information and helped us re-evaluate our approach to education. While many of the children and young people we spoke to have a positive experience of education, our study shows that more needs to be done for the children in our care to fully realise their potential in the current school system. One of our recommendations points towards an improvement in training for teachers about the needs and experiences of looked after children, so that they can better support them in their personal development and protect them from bullying.