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What is the Mockingbird family model?

The Mockingbird family model was introduced to Bradford carers in 2020, and is steadily growing to include more foster carers and their families.

What is the Mockingbird model?

The Mockingbird family model joins small groups of foster families together like an extended family, to provide peer support and training for foster carers and stability and positive relationships for children in foster care. Each group of foster families is called a constellation.

The model has the potential to improve placement stability and security for foster children by improving peer support and development opportunities for all involved.

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Introducing Mockingbird to Bradford

We currently have 7 foster families taking part in the Mockingbird scheme, with Steven and Dean Sagar-Watson from Bradford becoming the first hub home carers in the area.

We asked Stephen and Dean about their Mockingbird experience:

Steven said: “We’ve been fostering for a couple of years and we love it. Right from when we started fostering, we were building connections with other carers on the training course with us and through our roles in the foster carers’ association".

"It’s so important to have someone to turn to who understands what fostering is."

“Fostering can be a bit lonely sometimes, you are different to the other parents at the school gates, because your child or young person has a social worker and you are parenting someone else’s child, so being part of an extended group of families in a Mockingbird constellation is so supportive.

Our home will be the hub and our door will be open to the children and carers in the constellation.

Once lockdown has lifted, children will come for tea and sleepovers and fun days out, which we hope will build friendships between the children so they’ll become like cousins”.

Dean said: “Children in care might not have any family members or friends they can go to for sleepovers or days out for whatever reasons".

"Mockingbird gives them a chance to build friendships with other children in foster families, like their own; they are instantly part of a bigger family".

"We know that it’s not going to happen immediately and that it takes time to build relationships, but we know from our own experiences as foster parents that with time and effort it can happen”.

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Could you be part of the Mockingbird programme?

We are pleased to announce that we are recruiting foster carers to take part in the next phase of the Mockingbird programme.

Cllr Adrian Farley, the council’s Portfolio Holder for Children and Families, said: “This is really exciting news for the Bradford district and we’re looking forward to seeing the benefits that the programme will bring to both children and foster carers in our borough.

The model will provide peer support, training and development for foster carers, as well as providing an extended family for our children”.

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Would you like to learn more about fostering in Bradford?

Foster carers change lives. If you'd like to learn more about fostering in Bradford, download an information pack today and see how you can make a difference.

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