Fostering Service First in Wales to Adopt Peer Support Model
Flintshire Fostering Service is becoming the first fostering service in Wales to adopt The Fostering Network’s innovative Mockingbird programme.
The move comes in the middle of the UK’s largest fostering awareness campaign – Foster Care FortnightTM – and it will see the local authority team join 26 other fostering services around the UK using the peer support programme.
The Mockingbird programme delivers the Mockingbird Family Model which is a method of foster care which uses an extended family model that provides sleepovers and short breaks, peer support, regular joint planning, training and social activities to support children in care as well as foster families. Already well-established in England, Mockingbird has delivered benefits such as avoided costs for fostering services, better support for foster carers and more stability for fostered children and young people.
Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Services, Councillor Christine Jones, said:
“Flintshire is delighted to be the first fostering service in Wales to adopt this way of supporting our foster carers and looked after children.
“Becoming a foster carer can be daunting. The Mockingbird model brings together a group of foster carers living nearby to provide on-tap advice and support. This will provide support for new and current carers.”
Foster carers in Flintshire also responded positively to the news in a recent consultation and survey, with the majority agreeing that Mockingbird was a good idea and that it would help foster carers. Foster carers commented that adopting the Mockingbird Model would be a ‘great idea’ and that it is a ‘fantastic concept’. Another foster carer praised Flintshire fostering service for being ‘forward thinking’.
The Mockingbird programme also addresses some of the issues raised in the recent Bright Spots survey of looked after children in Flintshire, in which young people stated that they want to have respite with the same carers, and for adults not to draw attention to the fact that they are in care and treat them differently. They also want more time with their brothers and sisters if they are not able to live with them.
Flintshire Young Voices Out Loud group who represent children and young people in foster care said
“We think it’s a really good idea. Young people who are new to care, can make friends and socialise with more people in the same environment. If a hub carer is there, you actually know them and they know what you like. Sometimes you don’t know who a respite carer is. It will be a safe place to go. We want Mockingbird to happen in Wales.”
Colin Turner, Director of The Fostering Network in Wales, said:
“We are delighted to be implementing the Mockingbird programme in Wales funded by the groundbreaking Innovate to Save programme from the Welsh Government. We look forward to seeing the positive impact Mockingbird will make to all involved with the programme in Flintshire.”
Mockingbird programme manager for The Fostering Network, Lily Stevens, said:
“We are delighted with the impact the Mockingbird programme has made to the fostering services, foster carers and children and young people involved. A significant benefit of the programme is that it has supported foster carers and the young people they look after in building stronger relationships resulting in fewer moves between foster families for children and young people in the Mockingbird programme than their peers outside of the programme. This increased stability enables children and young people to flourish.”
Foster Care Fortnight 2019
Foster Care Fortnight, from 13-26 May, is developed and delivered by the UK’s largest fostering charity – The Fostering Network – with the aim of raising the profile of fostering and recruiting more foster carers. This year’s theme #changeafuture emphasises how fostering changes the future of children in care, as well as the future of the families that look after them. Support the campaign and find out more about fostering at couldyoufoster.org.uk
To find out more about being a foster carer for Flintshire Fostering Service you can attend an information evening on:
Monday 13 May, Penymynydd & Penyffordd Royal British Legion, 7pm
Monday 20 May, Penymynydd & Penyffordd Royal British Legion, 7pm