Pearl – TACT Foster Carer since 2009
London and South East
I had a happy childhood personally, but I saw other children at school who were depressed and wanted to run away because of the problems they had at home. Looking back this was what motivated me to become a foster carer, as I wanted to ensure that all children could experience the same happiness I did throughout my childhood.
TACT really stood out for me when I was looking for a fostering agency; their commitment to care for both the foster carer and the child to the best possible outcomes for children and young people was head and shoulders above anyone else. The training supplied has been very informative, allowing us to talk about how we handled certain situations and learn from the experiences of other foster carers in the group. The support I’ve been given by TACT has even allowed me to be able to offer advice to foster carers from other companies who do just not get the same level of support.
I’ve had a variety of foster placements, mainly teenagers, which can be quite challenging at times. One thing I believe they appreciate is consistency, so I tell them that the person they meet today will be the same person tomorrow, next month and next year. My 25-year-old foster son who still visits me recently reminded me of this and told me I’ve never changed! Problems can arise when things have gone wrong with the child’s contact with their family, as well as a host of issues such as education, mental health, bereavement and trauma. My job is to pick up the pieces, which can be difficult, but it’s so rewarding when you see positive outcomes.
I love seeing children who had come to me with barriers up, building up their confidence and smashing through these barriers. They’ve accomplished so many things they wouldn’t have dreamed of: passing exams, landing university offers, getting their first jobs. Seeing them believe in themselves after all the negativity that built up inside of them because of past experiences is truly the greatest thing about being a foster carer. Even when they’re grown up, they all know I’m only a call away or can come and see me anytime they need advice or just to talk.
Along the way, I’ve learnt a lot about how to work with teachers, mentors and medical teams to help deliver the best possible outcomes for the young people in my care, helping them to become resilient and realise their potential. My advice to anyone considering becoming a foster carer would be prepare to be 100% committed – these children have had many people in their past who have given up on them and without commitment you won’t get started. Finally, encourage and praise them for their efforts and accomplishments – you have no idea the impact some positive support will have on them.