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The Mockingbird Family Model

Project start date: May 2016

We (The Fostering Network) were awarded up to £3.8m to further develop and expand the Mockingbird Family model. The model increases the protective factors around children through simple provision of an extended network of family support and was successfully implemented in the UK as part of round one of the Innovation Programme.

Project Summary


A number of young people in foster care experience disrupted care journeys, multiple placements and unplanned placement moves. A lack of adequate respite for children and young people, as well as foster carers, can often result in placement breakdown and foster carers can experience low levels of confidence and motivation leading to poor retention rates. Placements in settings other than fostering can be costly and linked to what is available rather than what meets the child’s need.

Our work will scale ‘up’ and ‘out’ the Mockingbird Family model, initially introduced to the UK fostering contect during the first round of Innovation Programme funding. The Mockingbird Family Model is itself an innovative model for delivering and supporting foster care, which has shown significant benefits in terms of the support it provides to children and foster carers in the US and UK.

Alongside introducing the model into new areas of the country, the model will be further developed in areas where it already operates, extending through innovative and targeted approaches aimed at supporting specific groups of children and young people or addressing locally identified needs. Differing for each service, we will provide support to young people at risk of sexual exploitation or involved in gang activity, as well as supporting children and families preparing for adoption.

In addition, the project will develop an innovative hybrid model building on the successes of previously funded development activity around The Mockingbird and No Wrong Door models, which aim to develop strong links between foster care and residential placements and improve stability and continuity for children and young people.

Project contact details

Freya Burley

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