“We love encouraging the children to pursue their passions”

Author: TACT Fostering

Tags: Transferring agency

Alice & James – TACT Foster Carer since 2022
North West

We had always talked about wanting to foster, even while we were dating. We’d both been brought up in families and church communities that put a lot of emphasis on looking out and doing what you can for those around you, and saw that lots of our friends in our community who were struggling had had really difficult childhoods and spent time in care.

Even though we hadn’t had any birth children at that time, we had spent a lot of time volunteering with different groups of children and young people and it made a lot of sense to us to see if we could foster, to see if we could be one of the families that was needed to help children at a really tough time.

We initially fostered through our local Council but had quite a tough experience. The children in our care had six social workers in the first six months with us, and our social worker struggled to give us the support we needed to advocate for and look after the children we were caring for. We felt really committed to the children we were caring for but knew we needed to get more support to be able do it in the long term. We looked into charities who had a good reputation and were registered charities who didn’t charge the local authorities too much for placements, and that led us to retraining through TACT.

Retraining and being reassessed took around six months with TACT. It was very flexible and mostly done over the phone and Zoom.

Support through TACT has been fantastic. When we’ve had difficult times in the placement, our social worker has gone above and beyond to help us out, both practically and also emotionally when things have been hard. She has got to know the children we look after which has helped us hugely as we’ve reflected together about how best to meet their needs and manage challenges.

We feel like we are part of a team with our social worker, and we feel like we are part of a community with the TACT foster carers and children who we see as part of socials and training.

We love encouraging the children to pursue their passions and do things that build their confidence. We love seeing the children do what that they loved doing and are proud of.

There have been big moments and lots of little moments. We’ve taken some great holidays where we’ve got to make lots of memories and do new things together. My highlight might be taking a musical-obsessed teenager who had never been to the theatre before to see Hamilton in London. You’ve never heard someone scream so loud as when I gave her the tickets for Christmas! But there are also so many small moments, like working your way through Dork Diaries at bed time with a ten year old who’s getting really good at reading.

The children we’ve looked after have had lots of experience of adults being unpredictable, but just by being consistent and caring, we’ve taken the pressure off them and just let them be kids. They don’t need to wonder if there will be a lift home from school, dinner on the table, or someone to talk to when they’re upset – they can take that for granted.

People often tell us we’re amazing for fostering and I’m never sure how to respond to that. It’s an amazing thing to do with your life but you don’t need any unusual skills – you just need time and sticking-power to invest in a child who needs it. It isn’t easy but the best things never are! With TACT, you’re not on your own: you’re part of a community that’s all learning together and you have professionals and other social workers on hand to help.

Read more about transferring to TACT.