The Mockingbird Family Model is a unique wraparound fostering service, with a focus on placement stability and with carers and young person support at its core.
The idea behind Mockingbird is to break the cycle of challenging behaviour and enable the foster carer to undertake repatriation work. It’s been shown to be effective in stabilising placements and helping children have a better experience of being within a foster family.
It is an extended family model that provides sleepovers and short breaks, peer support, regular joint planning and training, and social activities. The programme improves the stability of fostering placements and strengthens the relationships between carers, children and young people, fostering services and birth families.
With strong relationships at its core, our carer ‘constellations’ are made up of between six to 10 fostering families with a ‘hub carer’ at the centre. The hub carers is an experienced foster carer, on hand to support mockingbird foster carers when they need a little extra help.
It made our first year of fostering so much easier. You meet other foster carers and get to know them really well and they become friends.
Often they have different perspectives and this is really valuable because, with the best will in the world, when you’re looking after someone else’s children it’s totally different to bringing up your own child, especially if they have learning disabilities or challenging behaviours.
With Mockingbird, you have not just your own knowledge and experience to call on but also that of everyone else in the group, which is brilliant.
Being part of the Mockingbird model ensures you are truly part of a fostering family. Both the hub carer and team members organise regular social activities, for both young people and carers, meaning there is a real sense of community and ultimately providing all children in our care with a positive experience.
National Fostering Group understand how important it is that our carers feel confident and empowered in their fostering role and being part our the Mockingbird model builds strong relationships and helps our foster cares to feel they have support around them, at all times.
The outcomes of adopting the Mockingbird really do help to build incredible futures for our young people. The constellation of fostering families, the hub carer, the team and the wider community, results in a supportive network where together, we can solve any problems at arise, to ensure we avoid placement breakdown where we can.
With a one team approach, we can provide new opportunities for young people to learn, explore who they are and find their way in the world.
Independent fostering agencies like Heath Farm and NFA London also practice therapeutic fostering.