Fostering People launch new fostering model named Mockingbird
Children, foster carers and staff in our East Midlands area gathered with a representative from the Fostering Network to launch our first ever constellation of Fostering People’s Mockingbird Project. Pauline Stormont and other members of the project team had been working over the last 18 months preparing and adapting Mockingbird to fit in Fostering People.
The Fostering Network has been working with a small number of local authorities and one small IFA during the first phase of a pilot project developing the model for foster carer in England. Due to the success of the first pilot, the Department for Education is funding a second pilot to take the learning and development one step closer to becoming an established model for fostering in England.
The Model provides increased support to foster carers and looked after children, by replicating a ‘normal’ extended family. The model centres on a ‘hub foster carer’ – which can be compared to a grandparent or other family member – who parents call on at times of need to provide additional support or child care.
The model also ensures the ‘hub foster carer’ is placed in the centre of a wider social network of foster carers, replicating family life even further. As with many families it is often within grandparents homes which extended family come together to enjoy social time and special occasions. Using a hub carer in this way helps to significantly normalise family life for looked after children. We are proud to say that we have the first ever single hub carer ever in Mockingbird.
Lily Stevens, Mockingbird manager at The Fostering Network, says: “The Fostering Network is delighted to be working with Fostering People as part of our Mockingbird programme, introducing the Mockingbird Family Model to its carers and young people. Launching a new Mockingbird constellation is always extremely exciting, and the fact that Fostering People is launching its first hub home at the start of Foster Care Fortnight is particularly happy timing.
“A huge amount of hard work has gone into getting ready for this launch, and we’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with Fostering People over the coming years, supporting them in developing the model and seeing the impact it has on the children, young people and fostering families it supports.’
Neil Perry, is the nominated hub home foster carer for Fostering People, Neil explains: “The theory behind the Mockingbird programme is to make foster care feel as close to everyday family life as possible, and I’m honoured to be the first hub home carer for Fostering People. For the children and young people, it means they get to go to ‘sleep overs’ with other foster families, while for the carers, it’s an opportunity to benefit from much deeper peer support.
“Too often, looked after children miss out on life experiences; our satellite families have a broad awareness and appreciation of the issues affecting children within the constellation, meaning they can work together as a team to deliver those valuable experiences, safely.
“In my role as hub home carer, I’m looking forward to empowering us as a community to support each other and our foster children, to help enrich and improve the lives of all of the children and young people we care for.”
As well as providing respite care and social activities, other aspects of the Mockingbird programme include keeping siblings together within a constellation where the sibling group is too large to keep together within the same foster family.
John Platt, managing director at Fostering People concluded:
“As an independent fostering agency that prides itself on our innovative approach to care, we’re delighted to be selected for the second pilot of the Mockingbird programme.
“Improving outcomes for the children and young people in our care remains our core goal, and the Mockingbird programme is a truly pioneering project that will support us in achieving this ambition.”
Sunday saw the launch of our first constellation at our carers home – with children, carers and staff enjoying food, cake, and entertainment as we held and learnt about wild birds.
Our aim is to push the boundaries of outcomes still further – reduce placement breakdowns, higher educational achievements, more satisfied carers leading to better carer retention. Fostering People will be monitoring the results closely both internally and externally through the Fostering Network and the Rees Centre and let you know the results.
To find out more about Mockingbird with Fostering People, visit our Mockingbird Page.