Walsall Council is the first local authority in the West Midlands to take part in the Fostering Network’s ‘Mockingbird’ fostering programme. The Mockingbird programme is an innovative way of delivering foster care which centers on the idea of an extended network of family support. Empowering families to support each other and overcome challenges, Mockingbird allows our carers to offer children and young people a more positive, consistent, and secure experience of care.
The Mockingbird programme creates a ‘constellation’ where one experienced foster home - the hub - offers planned and emergency sleepovers, advice, training, and nearly 24/7 support to six to ten ‘satellite’ fostering families.
Launched in July 2018, we now have two constellations up and running in Walsall which include 14 fostering households and 19 looked after children and young people and with plans for two more constellations to be developed in 2019.
All carers within a constellation meets up once a month to give foster carers the opportunity to discuss specific topics and challenges they are facing. Each constellation also meet up monthly for social activities which include all of the looked after children. These activities have included trampolining, park visits, trips to the Snowdome and RAF Cosford museum, and more. These meet-ups and events are an invaluable source of support to both the foster carers, and the looked after children.
Newly appointed foster carers may be offered the opportunity to take part in this programme. If you are interested in becoming part of a Mockingbird constellation, contact us and we will be able to provide you with some more information.
You can also find out more by visiting www. thefosteringnetwork.org.uk/mockingbird
Watch the Fostering Network’s short film about the Mockingbird Fostering Programme: