Flintshire Council becomes first in Wales to introduce Mockingbird programme

11 May 2020

Council in North Wales will use £1.15million in Innovate to Save funding to roll-out the Mockingbird family model for looked after children and their foster families. 

A new way of delivering foster care is being rolled-out across the county of Flintshire.

Based on the Mockingbird Family Model – which creates an ‘extended family’ of support – the Mockingbird programme for Flintshire will support 50 families. The first constellation was set up in February 2020 with another to follow by the end of the year.

The Mockingbird programme creates an ‘extended family’ – called a constellation – of 6-10 fostering families who are supported by an experienced foster carer. The programme is shown to improve the stability of fostering placements and strengthen relationships between carers, children and young people, fostering services and birth families. The extended family model enables sleepovers and short breaks, peer support, regular joint planning and training, and social activities between the families.

We want Mockingbird to happen in Wales. For young people who are new to foster care, they can meet other people in the same situation. For some foster kids who run away, it will be a safe place to go to. If you go to another foster carer, they already know you

Member of Flintshire Young Voices Speak Out group

A UK pilot project showed that the Mockingbird programme, originated by The Mockingbird Society in America and developed by The Fostering Network in the UK, reduced placement breakdowns and moves which are costly to the Local Authority and have a detrimental effect on the child.

Five constellations are planned for Flintshire by the end of 2022, directly supporting up to 80 young people and 50 fostering households. By investing to save, the model is projected to make savings by avoiding high management costs incurred by external foster placements and by retaining a strong pool of local authority foster carers.