From Care Leaver to Carer

Author: TACT

Tags: Long term fostering

Diane – TACT Foster Carer since 2005

“I was taken into care at a very young age before being adopted. I haven’t one happy memory of my childhood and I always said to myself that one day, I would look after other children because I wouldn’t want them to suffer as I had.

Once my three beautiful children were all grown up, I contacted TACT, the fostering and adoption agency. I started the fostering training – you meet other foster carers and there is a continuous programme of training and support. You have to be really committed but you have support every step of the way.

Since 2005 I have fostered 14 children and young people. I’ve wanted to show them that there is life after care; because something bad happened to you as a child, you are not worthless, you can still make something of yourself. The children are always quite shocked when I say, ‘I know, I understand, I’ve been there.’

There have been some very tough challenges but I have absolutely loved it. One young lady has been with me nine years. When she came, she couldn’t talk, and sat cowered in a corner with a hood over her head. Now she has taken a course at the local college, she helps out at an animal centre and a riding centre and does activities at the youth club. She lives with me under a shared lives scheme and will stay with me for life. The other young lady living me now is off to university soon.

A different young person who came to me had been to 15 foster homes in 15 years. She arrived saying ‘Don’t think I’m staying!’ She stayed for three years. When she came to live with me, she loved ice skating, so at the age of 55 I learned to do it too. Three teenagers living here also taught me how to ride a bike. So the children have changed my life in different ways, too.

I have no regrets whatsoever and I won’t be retiring just yet. I love my job, it is the best in the world. There are still children out there who need help and I’m here for them.”

Learn more about fostering with TACT