Telford & Wrekin Council increases its support for foster carers
Telford & Wrekin Council is increasing its support for foster carers, to encourage more people to come forward and look after the borough’s most vulnerable children.
In addition to competitive fees and allowances, excellent training and development opportunities and extensive support services, the Council is rolling out the Mockingbird programme, providing enhanced support for Telford and Wrekin foster carers and children and young people in care.
Mockingbird is an innovative award-winning model of foster care that sees experienced foster carers supporting those new to fostering - by building a constellation of fostering households to replicate the structure of an extended family with the support and relationships that provides.
The Mockingbird extended family model provides sleepovers, short breaks, peer support and social activities. A hub carer sits at the heart of the Mockingbird constellation offering friendship, support and guidance to foster carers and children - in the way any grandparent figure might do in a traditional extended family.
Since trialling the Mockingbird programme, the council has seen foster families grow closer and relationships flourish.
Shanice Evason, a Mockingbird foster carer in the first constellation with Telford and Wrekin Council, said: “Mockingbird is an incredible source of support for our child, my husband and me. It gives us an additional opportunity to make friends with other foster carers. We mutually support one another as though we are one big family. The hub carer, who is like our family’s grandparent figure, has been amazing.”
Councillor Shirley Reynolds (Lab), cabinet member for Children, Young People and Families, said:
“Improving the experiences of children and young people in care is at the very heart of our Council and the core value of the Mockingbird family model.
“Thanks to the support that the Mockingbird programme provides, more children in our borough can grow up with the security of a stable home with their foster families.
“Thank you to the hub carer and the foster carers who agreed to be part of Telford & Wrekin’s first Mockingbird constellation, this award-winning system makes such a positive difference to our foster carers and children in care.
“We are looking forward to many more Mockingbird constellations and hope they will attract more people in our borough to fostering.
“As a foster carer, you can make such an amazing difference to a child’s life. There are so many opportunities to foster, either full time or part time, to fit with your current commitments.
“In addition to the Mockingbird support, you can benefit from competitive fees and allowances, bespoke training and development opportunities, a generous ‘refer a friend’ scheme and many others – get in touch with our team at www.telfordfostering.co.uk to find out more.”
The Mockingbird programme is being led by the national charity The Fostering Network.
According to the UK-wide statistics, 18.5 per cent placements would have broken down if they hadn’t been supported by the Mockingbird programme and 10 per cent of carers would have resigned if they hadn’t been supported by the Mockingbird programme.
Photo: Foster carers part of the first Mockingbird constellation with Telford & Wrekin Council, at their anniversary celebrations last year, together with Rob Wilson (centre) - Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the Council