New approach supports family-based foster care

This story was published 12 March 2019

A new and exciting way of delivering foster care using a family hub network is being set up in North Yorkshire.

Fostering families and Fostering North Yorkshire staff involved in delivering the Mockingbird model on the coast

Fostering North Yorkshire, part of North Yorkshire County Council, has joined the Fostering Network’s The Mockingbird Family Model Programme, along with 22 other fostering services around the country.

Mockingbird was originally developed by The Mockingbird Society, which was formed in 2004 by a group of foster carers in America. The Mockingbird Family Model centres on a ‘constellation’, with one foster home acting as a hub that offers planned and emergency respite care, advice, training and support to between six and ten ‘satellite’ fostering families. 

The hub home foster carer builds strong relationships with all the families in the constellation, helping them to support each other and overcome problems before they escalate or potentially lead to fostering placement breakdown. This in turn improves the stability of fostering placements and strengthens the relationships between carers, children and young people, fostering services and birth families.

Like an extended family, the constellation develops a supportive community through regular activities, providing children and young people with a positive experience of care. The Mockingbird model also offers supportive peer relationships for sons and daughters of foster families and foster carers. The programme is initially being piloted in the east of the county.

County Councillor Janet Sanderson, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for the Children and Young People’s Service, said: “We’re very proud to be delivering the Mockingbird model within North Yorkshire. It will strengthen even further our outstanding record in achieving great outcomes for our looked-after children, and stronger relationships between our social workers and foster carers.

“I’m also delighted to welcome Jan Moorcroft to the Mockingbird team as our Hub Home Foster Carer for the Scarborough area. Jan has been a carer with Fostering North Yorkshire for over ten years and has great experience of working with children and young people.”

Find out more about the caring opportunities available through Fostering North Yorkshire.