Stockport foster carers to receive extra support following expansion of pioneering Mockingbird model

More foster families in Stockport will receive support from other people in the fostering community following the expansion of the award-winning Mockingbird programme

Stockport foster carers to receive extra support following expansion of pioneering Mockingbird model

Stockport Council’s fostering service has launched its fifth Mockingbird family hub constellation, which will bring foster carers and the young people they support together as an extended family support network.

Mockingbird is a pioneering programme led by The Fostering Network and funded by the Department of Education. It’s structured around the support and relationships an extended family provides – led by a hub home carer and liaison worker, the constellation community offers vital peer support and guidance alongside social activities and sleepovers to strengthen relationships and permanence.

Mockingbird was introduced in Stockport in 2015 and now supports 50 fostering families. Stockport now has five constellations, led by hub carers who each support up to 10 satellite fostering families. The model is based upon the old adage “it takes a village to raise a child”; with the intent of creating a network that is representative of an extended family, underpinned by consistent relationships and around the clock support for fostering families.

The new constellation will be led by hub carers Pam and Rob, who will support eight families.

Pam and Rob said: “We are really looking forward to our new journey within fostering as Mockingbird hub home carers, this is such an exciting adventure to be a part of.

“We celebrated on Friday with the constellation launch, where the eight fostering families we’ll be supporting came together to meet each other, meet the other hub carers and the social workers. It was such an amazing opportunity for everyone to come together and be a part of our Stockport fostering community.”

Julia Graham, Stockport’s Lead for the Mockingbird Family Model states, “We are delighted that Pam and Rob have joined our Mockingbird Family. In Stockport, Mockingbird has proved itself to be invaluable to our children and our foster carers and we’re so proud of everything our five constellations have achieved.

“Our hub carers and satellite carers within our constellations continue to promote the Mockingbird project in Stockport and by doing so have maintained some very difficult and complex placements. They have ensured a continued commitment to the children in their care and the Mockingbird project. I am very proud to be involved in launching our fifth Mockingbird constellation.”

One foster carer who is part of Stockport’s Mockingbird Family Model commented “Being part of this has changed the way I feel; it has re-ignited my passion for fostering and in turn enabled me to keep looking after more children. Being part of a Mockingbird family is inspirational.”

Councillor Wendy Meikle, Cabinet Member for Children, Families & Education said: “We are proud that Stockport is part of such an innovative fostering programme, a sustainable new way of delivering foster care here in Stockport. We would like to welcome our new hub carers and to congratulate everyone involved in the programme. It was part of Stockport’s plan to launch five constellations prior to Covid and we are delighted that we have now reached our goal. The Mockingbird project is proving extremely successful in Stockport and it is clear to see the significant benefits it is bringing to our foster carers and ultimately the children and young people they care for. It is important that all foster placements are right for both the carers and the children and Mockingbird offers the support and stability that an extended family group can bring. Our Mockingbird foster carers feel supported and we are seeing an increase in the retention of foster carers because of it.

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer with us, please get in touch. We welcome people from all backgrounds, of all different ages, genders, ethnicities, no matter your relationship status or sexual orientation, so if you think you can make a difference to children’s lives please get in touch."

Stockport Council is part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Mockingbird programme.

For more information about fostering and the Mockingbird programme in Stockport visit the website or contact the council’s fostering team on 0161 474 3400.

For more information about the Mockingbird programme and The Fostering Network visit the Fostering Network website.