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The Fostering Network, as part of its innovation work and with funding from the Department for Education, is introducing, and supporting the delivery of the pioneering Mockingbird Family Model to foster care in the UK. You can find out more here. In this blog, Christopher - who is working on the Mockingbird programme - shares some of the excitement surrounding the launch of the hub homes.

November has been an exceedingly busy month for the Mockingbird Famiyl Model team. We’ve been visiting sites all over the country as hub homes are launched and the Mockingbird Family Model really gets underway. We’d like to say a big thank you to all the hub home carers who have welcomed us into their homes.

It is wonderful to see everybody approaching this project with so much enthusiasm and creativity. Every hub home had a different approach to their first meeting; however each one achieved their aim of bringing the constellation together and getting to know each other.

We’ve seen some wonderful examples of creativity such as the Mockingbird Tree where everybody attaches a ribbon to a tree in the back garden of the hub home. This means that they have a stake in the home and can always come back. One child asked what it meant and when told that it meant they could come back to see his ribbon again, his face lit up.

Another hub home built a tree of life with pictures of the young people on it and another made a big picture of the hub and constellation with photographs of all the homes. It was great seeing the young people and carers seeing themselves reflected in such a positive way.

One hub home meeting played a wool game whereby everybody introduced themselves by throwing a ball of wool to each other. The ball unravelled and eventually a huge web of connections was made, physically demonstrating the support that was available in the Mockingbird Family Model.

​Another hub home created gingerbread houses for the young people to decorate whilst they were there. Not only did they have fun doing it, they got to keep the house (and there was a bit of healthy competition and creativity going on too!).

And of course a running theme through everything was food. Delicious food, prepared, brought, shared, savoured and eaten happily in a throng of chatter as everybody got to know each other.

What is very quickly becoming clear, is the positive impact this project is having on carers and young people alike. Hub home carers have started to provide support and advice to carers; they’ve given respite days and had phone calls and face to face meetings. Young people are forming friendships – recognising kindred spirits and developing their social circles.

We are delighted that the commitment to Mockingbird is so strong.  We’re looking forward to more exciting news as these hub homes develop and more come on board.