3 April 2024

Carrie calls for more people to join the MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ program in Victoria.

Image: Carrie Spann, Operations Manager, wearing a pink top and glasses stands outdoors, smiling at the camera.

As a local resident of Ovens Murray, Victoria, Carrie Spann, Life Without Barriers' Operations Manager, is passionate about supporting the local community to ensure that children and young people don't have to leave the region when they come into care.

Carrie has been in this line of work for more than 30 years, and she still loves it as much as she did when she started.

“What I have learned from my experience is the importance of working together,” she said.

“For me, that means providing all kinds of support to a family rather than just one-on-one assistance from a case worker.

“That’s why I am excited about the MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ program, which brings together six to 10 foster care families in the local community, supported by an experienced carer called a Home Hub Provider.

“This group serves as an extended family, relying on each other for peer support and advice, just like grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins interact in other family units."

Carrie said they are currently on the lookout for more foster and kinshoip carers to join and be part of this community.

“It takes a village to raise a child, and that is what MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ is all about.” Carrie.

Image: Two adults with dark hair are smiling with a toddler. They are making a heart with their hands.

“Carers receive exceptional support in this model, unlike traditional models. They are not alone in difficult situations and crises.

“There is an entire team and community that they can draw on and receive support from, as everyone in that community is in the same situation as them,” Carrie said.

Kylie Drummy, Director of Child Youth and Family in Victoria, said she doesn’t want people to count themselves out of being a carer and encourages anyone with a question to pick up the phone or come to an info session.

“We want to let people know that what you think may be a barrier, possibly isn’t. We have fantastic carers with Life Without Barriers who provide a variety of caring options." Kylie said.

"We have carers who look after children and young people one weekend a month and others who provide short-term care at a time that suits them. We have single carers, carers who work full time, retirees and carers who are renting.“

“Tell us what might be stopping you and let’s see if we can create some solutions together." Kylie.

Children and young people across Victoria need your help!" Kylie said.

Find an upcoming foster care info session in your state here.

Jenna is one of our foster carers in Melbourne who challenges these myths, she works full time, is in her 30s, is single and renting.

“I really am of the firm belief, that if you are willing and have the capacity, anyone can become a foster carer.” Jenna shared.


MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ is an innovative, evidence-informed foster care model that unites six to 10 foster and/or kinship carer homes called ‘Satellite Families’ in a local community called a ‘Constellation’, supported by an experienced carer who takes on the role of Hub Home Provider.

For a first hand experience of the model, read about Esma. Esma has now been a foster carer with Life Without Barriers since 2022 and is one of our MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Home Hub Providers in South Australia.

“What drew me to fostering was the thought of children with no family to be with – that always upsets me.” Esma.

If you want to find out more about MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™, watch this short video!

Life Without Barriers is currently creating MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Constellations in the Goulburn Ovens Murray region in Victoria. If you want to be a part of an innovative and exciting support network of foster carers, you can find more information here.

If you are interested in knowing more or becoming a carer, you can reach out via email at carers@lwb.org.au or phone on 1300 592 227.

Story adapted from the Wangaratta Chronicle.

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