Forming community connections

An innovative way to structure the support and supervision provided to foster and kinship carers to create caring homes, inclusive of family, culture and community.

Life Without Barriers is partnering with The Mockingbird Society to implement MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ and holds the licence to support other interested agencies in Australia to utilise it.

For more information

For further information on MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ contact Chris Skinner:

Mockingbird model diagram

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 experiences carer who takes on the role of Hub Home Provider.

The Hub Home Provider is an employed team member and supports carers through providing 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 respite and social events, or when there is difficulty at home and the child and/or carers could benefit for a break.

The Hub Home Provider does two things:

  1. Coordinates and delivers the support resources offered through the MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ including planned and crisis respite care, conflict resolution, problem solving, mentoring, tutoring or homework sessions.
  2. Provides the facilitation, that unites the Satellite Families into a social network. This micro-community works together to stabilise children and young people, support the retention of quality carers, and provide increased opportunities for the achievement of permanency plan goals (family reunification, adoption).

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.

  • 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.

MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ and other OOHC Agencies

Life Without Barriers has licensed MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ for use in Australia. If other agencies are interested in MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™, they can license the model from Life Without Barriers which includes support and oversight of implementation and maintaining fidelity.