How it works?
TACT is the UK’s largest dedicated fostering charity, our foster carers looking after 600 children in 9 regions and countries across England, Scotland and Wales. Over 60 of the children and young people look after are disabled or have a special educational need. We recruit, train, supervise and support foster carers to provide a secure and nurturing family life where children and young people can thrive and, either progress to an independent adult life or to successfully return home or to permanency elsewhere.
We also support families in the community through providing regular planned short breaks. Many young people stay with their carers beyond fostering and in Scotland we are a registered Continuing Care provider for young people up to 21 years old. TACT also acts as a voice for care experienced children across the UK, seeking to influence policy and campaign for change.
What has been achieved?
Our Education Service works to ensure that all children have a EHCP in place where this is appropriate and advocate to secure the appropriate school provision. We have secured National Lottery Community Fund support to provide TACT Connect, through which we provide a lifelong supportive community of care experienced people including disabled young people. TACT Connect also enables care experienced young people to mentor others, undertake paid employment with TACT, develop life skills, have their voice heard, and undertake roles supporting the recruitment and approval of foster carers. One of our team has particular knowledge of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), which we believe is under diagnosed in fostered children. They deliver training to all staff and foster carers and offers advice as needed.
TACT receives many referrals from Local Authorities seeking fostering families for disabled children, however, finding a family can be difficult. We would like to be better able to offer this opportunity to more disabled children and those with special educational needs. We are only at the beginning of this journey.
We know we need to develop our training and support to our foster carers, so they can feel confident to care for a child with different or complex needs. We also need to invest in recruiting more foster carers who would be particularly motivated to care for a disabled child. We want to also make sure that all children and young people achieve the best possible outcomes in our care and we are establishing a Health Service that will enable us to provide more expert advice and support to our foster carers and work with other agencies to access the interventions the child needs.
TACT also encourages young people to participate in activities and in the life of the organisation and we want to also ensure that all young people are included in these opportunities. We are keen to learn from others and share ideas. We would welcome contact from any other members interested in our work or could work in partnership with us on our aims.