Something we’re very proud of at TACT is the work of our Children’s Resource Workers, who provide an incredible service around the UK by supporting our children, young people and our fostering families. This level of support is not offered by many agencies and may be unfamiliar to many who are looking into what is offered when researching about becoming a foster carer. To explain more, we asked three of our brilliant CRW’s, Jess Michael and Jez, to describe what their roles involve…
Jess, CRW for TACT North West:
“A big part of my role as a Children’s Resource Worker (CRW) is to get all of our young people’s voices heard. One of the ways we do this is through regional and national participation groups, where our young people’s points of views and opinions help us to shape our policies, procedures and working practice. To use a recent example, young people have had their say on what language professionals should use when speaking to and addressing care experienced young people. As a result of this, TACT was involved in the ‘Language that Cares’ dictionary. Since being published, this has strongly influenced the language we use as professionals and Foster Carers so as to not marginalise care experienced children and young people.
CRW’S will hold training opportunities and workshops for our young people to attend. As a result of the participation groups, we as CRW’s are able to plan appropriate workshops to meet the young people’s needs and interests in accordance to their stages of development and level of understanding. We have recently held workshops on social media safety, sexual health, employment, and CV writing after young people had expressed an interest. Through continuous participation, we are constantly listening to the young people’s needs and we shape our practice to best meet those needs.”
Michael, CRW for TACT East Midlands:
“Another focus of our role as CRW’s is to organise and facilitate a range of fun and engaging activities and events for our looked after young people, birth children and families combined. This is one area that I am always looking to develop and push the boundaries further with. We have offered many activities ranging from trampolining, painting, picnics and small get togethers, to more extravagant activities such as Pony Days, outdoor activity centre trips and major theme parks. During lockdown, we have continued to offer many activities, such as music projects online and because of this, we have also been able to share this nationally and allow young people from all over the country to share in this experience, benefiting many more young people across TACT.
Each year, TACT offers the opportunity for looked after young people aged 14-17 from across England, Scotland and Wales to take part in a combined residential activity trip, known as our Big Weekend. These trips usually consist of a range of outdoor activities including rock climbing, abseiling, canoeing, archery and many more exciting activities. The trips take place at various locations across the nation and more recently have included the Lake District, Shropshire and the Isle of Wight.
In addition, at local levels, TACT offer local residential trips (Little Weekend’s) either as an individual area or in partnership with one or two other local offices. These trips tend to replicate the Big Weekend format of outdoor activity centres but mostly aimed at younger children that vary from office to officer but typically from the ages of 8-15.
The residential trips tend to be the events that are most memorable for our young people. It is an opportunity to have fun, try new things, build confidence and make new friends. This is also a space where young people are around others with similar experiences to themselves and they can often feel most comfortable in knowing this.”
Jez, CRW for TACT Cymru:
“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.”