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Mockingbird Family Model

The Mockingbird programme is an innovative method of delivering foster care using an extended family model which provides sleepovers and short breaks, peer support, regular joint planning and training, and social activities.

Project Description

A number of young people in foster care experience disrupted care journeys, multiple placements and unplanned placement moves. The Mockingbird model aims to improve the stability of fostering placements and strengthening the relationships between carers, children and young people, fostering services and birth families.

The Mockingbird model comprises constellations of six to eight carer homes arranged around a central hub home in which trained carers offer respite services, develop relationships and provide support to foster families. Hub-home carers build strong relationships with all those in the constellation, so that problems are overcome before they escalate. They also facilitate access for constellation families to wider community resources and activities.

The Mockingbird model was originally developed by The Mockingbird Society in America in 2004. The Fostering Network ran an eight site pilot funded by the DfE in 2015. As of January 2020, there are 38 Mockingbird partners, 24 of which have at least one established constellation and 14 partners are in the implementation stages of the programme.


The DfE-funded independent evaluation published in 2016 found that

Lead Organisation

The Fostering Network


Barnardo’s, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Bradford Metropolitan Borough Council, Cheshire East Council, Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, Flintshire County Council, Fostering People, Fostering to Inspire, Heath Farm Fostering, Hertfordshire County Council, Leeds City Council, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, London Borough of Hackney, London Borough of Merton, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London Borough of Waltham Forest, NFA London and South East, The North Midlands Regional Adoption and Permanency Partnership, North Somerset County Council , North Yorkshire County Council, Oxfordshire County Council, Portsmouth City Council, Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Sheffield City Council, Slough Children’s Services Trust, South Tyneside Council, Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council, Suffolk County Council, Surrey County Council, Wakefield Council, Walsall Council, Warrington Borough Council, Wigan Council






Lilian Stevens


Funding Information

Funding theme: Rethinking support for adolescents, Care/transitions

Total amount awarded


Round 1 Feb 2015


Round 2 May 2016


Other information