New approach to support foster carers, children and young people
Wakefield Council, in conjunction with The Fostering Network, is proud to be delivering the Mockingbird programme - a new way to support foster carers and the children and young people in their care.
The Model brings together groups of six to eight foster families to work with an experienced foster carer who acts as a mentor.
The approach gives foster carers an additional and tighter support network to turn to during difficult times, increases their resilience and helps children to remain in high quality placements.
Children and young people with a Mockingbird 'family' support around them benefit from a greater sense of belonging – an approach that helps to boost well-being for them, their carers and social workers.
Cllr Margaret Isherwood, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Wakefield Council, said: "This is a fantastic initiative and we are very pleased to be introducing a new model of care to benefit children and young people and foster carers, with an approach that recognises the benefits of connecting with others and strengthening bonds.
"We have many dedicated foster carers, doing a brilliant job in providing vulnerable children and young people with a caring home. But at times it can be very challenging, and we want to enhance support for foster carers so they feel recognised and valued, with peers and a mentor to help one another.
"This is a new and an exciting way of working that will help improve outcomes for children by providing them with stable homes, helping them to thrive physical, mentally and emotionally."
The Mockingbird Family Model will enable more children from the district to remain where they have family and friends. It bolsters stability in fostering placements by strengthening relationships between carers, children and young people, and birth families. It also supports work to ensure children don't have to remain in the care system.
Foster carers will also be given greater opportunities for training and development – to grow their confidence, which benefits children in their care by enabling them to provide a safe and supportive home life.
The Council was one of just eight local authorities to have been chosen by the Department of Education to receive funds to help it to implement the Mockingbird Family Model, which was developed in the USA.
More foster carers are needed to support children and young people. They receive training, a financial allowance and support from a dedicated support worker.
Additionally, out of hours support, fast tracked access to children's health and wellbeing support teams and access to monthly informal foster carer groups are provided.
Carers need to be over 21 and have a spare room. No special qualifications are needed.
People can apply regardless of marital status, sexuality, religious or cultural background. They don't need to be a homeowner or employed and can be with or without children.
To find out more about fostering with Wakefield Council visit: www.wakefield.gov.uk/fostering or call 0800 197 0320.