Duncan and Doretta – TACT foster carers since 2018
Doretta, a Service Advisor, and Duncan, a retired Police Officer believed they could offer a safe and stable home to children in care, whilst helping them realise their potential.
TACT Scotland were the best option we found from the fostering options we looked at, due to being a charity and offering lots of support and training.
The application was extensive and detailed but that was both reassuring and expected, given the nature of looking after children. At panel, the last stage in the process, we were made to feel relaxed.
We remember the excitement and anticipation we felt when we heard about the young boy and a baby girl who became our first foster children. Naturally, we wondered what the children’s reaction would be when they arrived and felt motivated to make them feel welcome and in no danger.
The two children were an emergency fostering case, so warning came a few hours before being placed with us. Due to the training and support from TACT Scotland, we already had bedrooms made in readiness and a cot bought in case a baby was placed with us. We welcomed them fully, spending a lot of one-to-one time to make them feel at ease and to show them that their welfare was important to us.
Those first few weeks went smoothly as the children settled into their new environment. It was a learning curve for us, and one we enjoyed, with various visits and social services involvement.
Fostering is highly rewarding. Seeing the children progress in their new environment, seeing them well fed and happy, seeing the improvement in their lifestyles and helping them achieve their potential, are some of the reasons we still find ourselves doing this. When we contemplate our journey and, specifically, the large sibling group currently in our care, we are moved by how much they have flourished in their new home and at school, with one child receiving recognition in competitive sport and winning medals at national level.
We decided to care for siblings because they need to be kept together where possible and we want to do our part for . We see first-hand how well siblings do when they are around to support each other. There is a definite need for more foster carers who can keep siblings. The only challenge we experience is meeting the individual needs of each child. And that is where planning and an external support network comes in.
Our TACT social worker goes above and beyond in giving us support and regularly keeps in touch. Added to that, our birth children, all of whom are now adults and have left home, fully support our choices.
My wife and myself are a team, both going through our fostering career together, supporting one another and able to advise each other on different aspects. We plan our day-to-day routines in advance so that both of us can enjoy some time out, playing golf or going to a local gym.
We would not only encourage anyone thinking of fostering to consider siblings, but also to look after children of any diversity or background, focusing on the giving of a stable and safe home with routines and boundaries so that they have a good start in life.
If you are a foster dad or mum, our advice? Just enjoy the moment.
Read more about fostering siblings.