Vicky, TACT Supervising Social Worker
I am a Supervising Social Worker for TACT in the North West of England, and my main purpose is to support foster carers. I feel fortunate to have been doing what I do because our foster carers are fantastic, and I am honoured to supervise and work with such lovely, caring people who go above and beyond on a daily basis to improve outcomes for children and young people.
I had always wanted to work with children and families. From the age of 16, I worked as a nursery nurse and after feeling drawn towards multi-agency working and safeguarding children I became a social worker, graduating in 2010. Eventually I decided I wanted to focus on the fostering side of social work and in 2018 I joined TACT, as not only did it enable me to specialise in the fostering field, but I also liked TACT’s charity status and child-centred ethos, which is a natural fit for my own values.
In my role for TACT there are a number of foster carers that I am dedicated to providing expert, emotional, and practical support for. I have supervision meetings with them every 4 to 8 weeks, usually in their homes. During those home visits I will explore all sorts of matters such as the carers’ emotional health, providing advice around mindfulness for example. We review the carers’ training and development needs, possibly identifying individual or group opportunities from the comprehensive range of training that TACT offers. We will also assess health and safety risks and discuss the needs of their foster children. And I will also talk to birth children and other adults within the fostering household in addition to the foster carers.
A good part of my time is spent supporting foster carers in attending meetings and liaising with local authority, health, and education professionals to ensure that the children and young people’s needs are met by the wider support networks that are available. One day I could be meeting with a paediatrician and the next I might be talking to an educational psychologist or an independent reviewing officer.
“She told me on her last day how she had always felt listened to by her foster carer and I, when it seemed like others were not listening to her. She really appreciated being included in the TACT family at a time when she thought she would never belong again.”
Vicky, TACT Supervising Social Worker
I think one of the key roles of a Supervising Social Worker is advocacy for both the foster carers and children and young people. There was one young person, when I first joined TACT, who came to live with my foster carers on a temporary basis after he was no longer able to live with his previous foster family. Unfortunately, the young person was excluded from several schools and his risk-taking behaviour in the community increased. Due to staffing and financial issues the Local Authority was unable to provide the young person with any suitable education provision and this was increasing his risk-taking behaviour. Despite this, my foster carers were extremely committed to finding a way to ensure he achieved positive outcomes. With their support I made several enquiries and managed to find the young person a sport and education provision which he continues to attend and is now so settled with his TACT foster carers that he is on a staying put agreement with them.
All of the children and young people I have worked with over the years have made a positive impact upon my life in one way or another. This was evidenced for me recently when one young person left TACT to move back with birth family. She told me on her last day how she had always felt listened to by her foster carer and I, when it seemed like others were not listening to her. She really appreciated being included in the TACT family at a time when she thought she would never belong again. This was very moving to learn and reminded me of the importance of my role.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to work alongside some amazing and talented colleagues, foster carers and children and young people. Every day is different which is what I enjoy, and I am honoured to be part of TACT’s foster carers’ and young people’s journeys.