This week is Children’s Mental Health Week, an awareness raising week that is hosted by Place2Be, a children’s mental health charity who encourage a focus on looking after emotional wellbeing from an early age. This year’s theme is Let’s Connect. TACT are supporting this brilliant initiative as the positive outcomes for all our young people is central to everything we do.
We know that children who are unable to live with their birth parents will usually have experienced some form of trauma. The adverse impact that this can have on a child’s mental health is huge and at TACT we do everything in our power to enable children and young people to go on and lead happy, and fulfilled lives.
In all areas of the UK, TACT employ Children’s Support Workers. The main role of the CSW’s is providing support to the young people we care for, planning activities and events with them and make sure their voices are heard. Our young people’s opinions and wellbeing is fundamental in helping us to shape our policies, procedures and working practice.
Jessica, our Children Support Worker from our TACT team has shared some of the fantastic activities our young people are involved with which can help with their mental health:
We want to give every child the opportunity to be heard and to also talk about the things that interest them most – that is why we introduced an Ambassador scheme for our young people to get involved with. If a child has a passion or an interest in a particular subject, they have the opportunity to become an Ambassador of that subject. So far we have a Fitness and Wellbeing Ambassador, Environment Ambassador and Culture Ambassador. Not only do our Ambassador’s get the chance to talk about the things they love, they also get the chance to share their knowledge and experience with others and celebrate their successes.
Young People Buddies
The transition to foster care can be very difficult and we know it can feel like a very lonely and isolating experience – this is why we offer lots of different events and activities for our young people. However, some of our young people spoke openly about the anxiety not knowing anyone and this has sadly put them off from joining in with the events. This led to the buddying system being born – we started with a few lead buddies. We go for tea and new children to TACT come along and can hear from the other children about what we do and how and why they should get involved. This has been such a success for us – it’s so nice for our new young people to see familiar faces when attending TACT events.
Support for Birth Children
As well as support for children and young people in care, we also offer support to carers and birth children of fostering families should it be needed. Our work with foster children can help them work through problems in the foster home or at school whilst, at the same time, providing a little respite for families.
We organise activities solely for children of families who foster, giving them the opportunity to have fun & be with young people who understand their situation. We have also started to provide an online forum for children who foster, so they can share their experiences.