The Government has today launched fostering projects in 10 new locations in a bid to provide foster families with practical and emotional support and advice.
The ‘Mockingbird Family Model’, delivered by The Fostering Network, brings foster families together in groups, centred around one experienced foster carer who lives nearby to act as a mentor.
This helps foster families build up a network that can support them with the day-to-day challenges of looking after a vulnerable young person.
‘Foster parents give stability to children who have often experienced nothing but trauma and chaos at home, giving them opportunities that most of us take for granted,’ said the education secretary Gavin Williamson.
‘The unique circumstances they face in becoming a new family means they need daily support from people who understand the challenges, offering them much-needed advice and respite when they feel isolated or alone.
‘Expanding the Mockingbird Family Model into new areas builds on a programme we know has real value to foster families, helping them to form vital communities so that parents can rely on one another through tough times and vulnerable children get the safe, supportive home life they deserve.’
The Department for Education has also today launched new projects in 18 council areas, backed by £84m, to support vulnerable children.
Kevin Williams, chief executive at The Fostering Network, said: ‘We’re delighted that the Government is showing confidence in the Mockingbird programme and the difference it is making in the lives of fostered children and young people, as well as the foster families caring for them.
‘This extra funding will allow us to bring the benefits of Mockingbird’s extended family model to many more foster families across England and to get further insight into the impact of the programme.’
Over 65,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families across the UK. This is nearly 80% of the 83,000 children in care away from home on any one day in the UK.