“TACT listen and understand what you’re going through”

Author: TACT

Tags: Children with additional needs

Sarah and Alan – TACT Foster Carers since 2011
South West

Sarah and Alan have been TACT foster carers since 2011 and they’ve had a range of children to care for during that time. Here Sarah and Alan reflect on one of the more difficult placements they’ve had and their experience of becoming foster carers.

“It wasn’t until my friend started fostering it came to me that this was something I thought we could do too. Our sons had flown the coop, but I felt we still had plenty of parenting in us and a lot more that we could still give. So I mentioned the idea to Alan, it wasn’t an idea that grabbed him straight away as he definitely didn’t see it coming. He thought it might be a case of empty nesters syndrome. He could see it was important to me but we agreed to leave it for a while and come back to it at a later date.

When I later saw a TACT advert, I raised the subject again, this time more seriously. I was always clear that I didn’t want to be ‘persuading’ him – it would always be a definite no unless he was 100% about it too. After receiving an information pack from TACT and researching on the internet, we decided we were ready to begin our fostering journey!

After the application process, we were approved and we welcomed our first placement, Jake who was 14 years old. Jake had a number of unsuccessful placements under his past and we knew there were issues, but as soon as we got the green light we said we’d have him. Jake faced problems since he was 9 years old, particularly in his relationship with his number and he’d been in care since he was 12.

Despite being a bright lad, with the ability to do well academically, Jake didn’t go to school as he just couldn’t work in groups. He needed lots of one-to-one time which he couldn’t get in school. So instead he went to a local farm each week where he did land-based studies – this was so much better suited to him.

I could see we definitely were the right match for Jake – our home is quiet and calm, whereas previous foster homes had been busy with other children to contend with which meant Jake never got the individual needs he required.

I must admit Jake did throw a lot at us, but we never expected any less. Without the support from TACT it would have been awful. TACT are a listening, sympathetic ear when you need someone who understands what you’re going through and tell you certain things you must do in specific situations.

We are very much fostering as a couple, we are a partnership and that’s really important for us – we are doing this together. If you are a couple considering fostering, you must understand you need a strong relationship to make it work. Fostering can be tough, sometimes even divisive, so you need to make sure that you have your own support network to fall back on.”