The Mockingbird family model is an extended family model that provides sleepovers, day care, peer support and social activities for looked after children and foster carers. The programme improves the stability and retention of fostering placements and strengthens the relationships between carers, children and young people, the fostering service and birth families. It is designed to replicate the conventional extended family model of aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbours and to give looked after children a stronger sense of belonging and grow long lasting connections with a wider group of care givers and peers.

As of November 2021, there are 84 Mockingbird constellations in England, Wales, and Scotland. Each family group is known as a constellation and this starts by having a Hub Home, which is an experienced foster carer. The Hub Home carer’s role is to provide support to a group of other foster carer families which are called Satellite Homes. The Hub Home organises meetings, events and get-togethers each month for the children, young people and foster carers within the Constellation. They can also provide planned and emergency sleepovers and day care for children and young people looked after within the Constellation. This means that the children or young people within the Constellation would only ever be looked after by a foster carer they know.

Here is a picture of what the Constellation looks like. The Hub Home carers will be part of the child’s care plan and replicate an extended family.

At the heart of the Mockingbird Programme is relationships and communication. Building trusted, strong and authentic relationships between the adults, children and young people within and between each foster family offers each person the support, care and time they may need and replicates an extended family model. It takes a village to raise a child and the Mockingbird Programme provides that village.

Mockingbird’s impact

•             Children have a reduced number of foster family moves

•             Helping foster carers to stay carers for longer

•             Children and carers have a network of strong and genuine relationships that replicate support offered by an extended family

•             Children are able to spend time with their brothers and sisters

•             Children no longer have to stay with unknown families for respite

•             Foster carers build new skills and relationships, increasing foster carer satisfaction

•             Helping to recruit new foster families

•             There is a community of support for times of difficulty, transition and crisis situation

•             Improved relationships between carers and birth family

The Alex Timpson Trust recognise the value of the Mockingbird Family Model, and because of this will be offering £2,000 grants to Mockingbird families, to be spent in a way you feel best, to strengthen the family bonds and provide happy memories.

Our first Mockingbird family grant was spent on a trip to London, somewhere the children hadn’t visited before. They enjoyed the train journey, sight-seeing, a boat trip, a picnic in the park and buying souvenirs.

One Mockingbird Family will be selected every quarter to receive the grant.

To apply for a Mockingbird grant from the Alex Timpson Trust, please complete the application below.

Mockingbird Grant Application Form