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More support for foster carers through innovative new programme
Friday 14th December, 2018

A new way of fostering is being rolled out in Wigan Borough.

The pioneering ‘Mockingbird’ programme involves foster carers being part of a group with other carers meaning they get an extended network of family support.

Up to ten families of foster carers will live close to a ‘hub’ foster carer, who is often an experienced carer, who can provide respite care, peer support and training and social activities to the families.

The hubs enable families to support each other, addressing issues or potential difficulties before they escalate and offers children a more positive experience of care.

Hub foster carer Suzanne Ritchie said: “Our role as a family is to bring foster families together to help children feel part of an extended family, wider community and enrich their lives with wider opportunities.

“For the carers, the opportunity to share skills, increased confidence and peer support can only be a good thing. The programme will improve stability for children and strengthen relationships. What an amazing time to be a foster carer for Wigan.”

Councillor Jenny Bullen, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “I’m really excited and can’t wait to see the difference the project will make to our foster families.

“Within the first month new carers have already benefitted from being part of the project receiving regular advice and guidance from the Hub home carer resulting in the stabilisation of a placement which is fantastic news.”

James Winterbottom, director of children’s services, said: “The Mockingbird family model is a new fostering approach that could revolutionise how fostering is delivered locally in Wigan and nationally.

“It is based on the idea of an extended family and has proven a successful way to improve outcomes for looked after children. We are always keen to embrace new initiatives which will make a difference to our families and children and I’m delighted to see it is already proving to be successful.”

The launch of the Mockingbird programme was celebrated last month with an event at Mesnes Park Lodge for foster carers.

If you would like to find out more about fostering please visit www.wigan.gov.uk/fostering or contact the team on 01942 487200.

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