Mary and Paul – TACT Foster Carers since 2009
“Fostering had been something that Paul and I had thought about for many years, it was just waiting for the right time to start. We’ve now been fostering for 13 years and in that time we’ve cared for over 20 youngsters for times from one night to seven years.
There are so many highlights of being a foster carer but one of the things we are most proud of is that we are still in touch with all the young people we’ve fostered for any length of time. We’ve had so many great experiences during our years of fostering but perhaps our biggest success is that I was able to give evidence in court that helped contribute to two young people returning home, and we have also secured permanence for one youngster through a Special Guardianship Order (SGO).
We’ve met lots of other foster carers over the years and have also had the opportunity to contribute to the introductory training course, Skills to Foster, and to deliver TACT’s esafety training. It’s great being able to meet and talk with future foster carers and share our experiences, and to advise and guide them through the process.
However, foster carers face many challenges. The lowest point for us has to be when there is a placement breakdown and the months of soul-searching afterwards about whether there was anything we could have done differently to prevent it.
The fact that TACT is a charity is important to us as we know it is not driven to maximise its profits as many of its competitors now are, and focusses more on the support it provides to carers. When we approached the idea of an SGO with TACT, they were immediately supportive and continued to give us meaningful support long afterwards. Fostering friends of ours with a commercial fostering agency did the same as us; however, they were cut adrift and no longer supported once the SGO was put in place.
The training and support provided from TACT is excellent, and we’d really recommend to people to take training opportunities when fostering — and of course to always seek help when you need it as TACT will be there for you.
The partnership between TACT and Peterborough City Council will also benefit young people and foster carers in the city. We know that fostering in Peterborough has had its challenges over the years and we’re confident that it will be a positive development.”