From Washington to Doncaster; Mockingbird soars for local foster carers

Foster care fortnight will see a new Mockingbird Hub Home launched by Trust Fostering in Doncaster with local carers receiving a special message from The Mockingbird Society overseas.

A unique and innovative way of providing foster care, Mockingbird sees carers supported in building extended family networks that provides peer support, sleepovers, training and social activities.

Vickie Oldroyd, Mockingbird Manager for Trust Fostering said: “The UK’s leading fostering charity, The Fostering Network, started Mockingbird in the UK in 2015 and we were part of the pilot.”

“Straight away our foster carers saw the benefit of being part of Mockingbird; having the support of other carers and a network to rely on makes a huge difference to, often isolated, foster families. Following a successful pilot we’re proud to be running Mockingbird fully in Doncaster.”

Originally taking flight in Washington State USA, the team in Doncaster have built strong links with their counterparts overseas, with Director of Family Programmes at the Mockingbird Society in Washington, Degale Cooper, saying: “15 years ago, my partner Lisa and I were selected to be the first hub family. Since then, Mockingbird has grown tremendously and has been adopted by foster care communities around the world.”

“We are thrilled to wish a happy launch to our friends at Doncaster Children’s Services Trust. Over the past few years [the team at] Doncaster have been successfully implementing Mockingbird as an innovative way to provide support to children and foster carers.”

The Fostering Network was funded by the Department for Education’s Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme in 2015 to develop the Mockingbird programme in the UK. This was done in partnership with the Mockingbird Society overseas and included Trust Fostering in the pilot stage.

Vickie added: “We’re delighted to have made brilliant links with the Mockingbird society in America – having their support in what we’re doing is really special. Knowing that we are part of something that is unique to Trust Fostering in Doncaster, but supports foster carers, children and young people the world over is incredibly humbling.”

Degale added: “We wish you the best as you continue to expand Mockingbird in your community.”

Trust Fostering, the fostering service run by Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, aims to expand the Mockingbird offering significantly in Doncaster over the next year with recruitment ongoing for people who have the skills and expertise to become a Mockingbird Hub carer.  

Speaking of the recruitment drive, Vickie said: “Mockingbird Hub carers need to have some experience in supporting or caring for people, or working with children or young people. They need a good sense of humour too and to have a passion for seeing people achieve their ambitions.”

Mockingbird Hub carers can earn up to £26,000 a year, offering 24/7 support to foster families and providing a safe space for children and young people to stay. Hub carers need a minimum of two spare bedrooms and some experience in supporting or caring for children and young people.

Those interested in finding out more about Mockingbird, or interested in taking up a Mockingbird Hub Carer role, are invited to drop in and meet the Trust Fostering team between 1:30pm and 3:30pm on Thursday 24 May at Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, High Street, Doncaster, DN1 1DE. Alternatively, call the team on 0808 129 2600 and ask to speak to Vickie or Tracey about Mockingbird.

“Thanks you so much for working with us and helping us as a family. You are a top social worker and it has been a pleasure working with you.”

Parent

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