Connecting carers, children and families in the community

Life Without Barriers is partnering with The Mockingbird Society to implement MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ and license the model to interested agencies in Australia.

MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ unites 6 to 10 carer homes (Satellite Families) in a local community. This is referred to as a Constellation and is supported by an experienced carer, who takes on the role of the Hub Home Provider.

How does it work?

MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ unites 6 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.

The Hub Home Provider is an employed team member who supports carers through providing connection, information, training and emotional support.

The Constellation is like the extended family and the Hub Home is like a grandparent’s house that is familiar and comfortable. Each child in the Constellation is welcomed by the Hub Home Provider for sleep overs and social events, or if there is difficulty at home and the child and/or carers could benefit for a break. MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ also promotes ongoing meaningful relationships with parents, brothers and sisters and other family members.

Be part of a constellation

Life Without Barriers has successfully launched MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Constellations in New South Wales and South Australia. We are now forming a new MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Constellation in the Goulburn and Ovens Murray regions of Victoria.

Image: The graphic shows an orange house icon labelled 'Hub Home', surrounded by a circle of pink house icons labelled 'Foster Home' or 'Kinship Home'. Outside of this circle are faded pink house icons labelled 'Family Home', 'Adoptive Home' or 'Chosen Home'. Lines connect between the faded pink house icons, the pink house icons and the orange house icon. A blue icon of a person labelled 'case manager' and a green icon of a person labelled 'MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY Liason Officer' sit outside the circle with arrows pointing to the house icons.

The Hub Home Provider

The Hub Home Provider:

1. Coordinates and supports Satellite Families in the Constellation through planned and crisis respite care, peer support, problem solving, mentoring, transport or activities to help children have fun and learn new skills.

2. Unites the Satellite Families into a social network that works like a micro-community that provides a safe secure environment for children and young people to connect with their peers, caring adults and keeps them connected to their family and culture. This community and peer connection also helps to retain quality carers who work together to support children and young people to achieve their goals.

This supportive community provides children with a more positive experience of care.

What are the benefits to the families involved?

The micro-community created focuses on the individual needs of its children and carers by ensuring carers are skilled, supported and confident in providing the best care for children and young people. This network of support for foster families also allows them to receive peer support from a community that knows them and has truly walked in their shoes.

Key benefits of MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ are:

  • Children thrive socially, emotionally and academically

  • Children and carers develop supportive peer relationships

  • Positive Carer retention

  • Carers receive support through respite, peer support, training and information

  • Children remain connected to their community and culture

  • Increased placement stability

  • Alleviate case management workload

Evaluations in the USA and UK show promising results in decreasing placement disruptions and improving the satisfaction and retention of carers. For example, in Washington State in the USA it delivers a 92% foster family retention rate, compared to a 63% Washington State average. We expect to see similar positive outcomes in Australia.


Life Without Barriers holds the replicating agency license for MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ in Australia and is keen to support other foster care agencies to start their own MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Constellations for children, young people and carers.

Organisations interested in implementing MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ please contact Life Without Barriers.