Connecting carers, children and families in community
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 license the model to interested agencies in Australia.
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.
The Hub Home Provider:
- 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.
- 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.
MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ and other OOHC Agencies
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.