New approach to fostering after pilot

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The way in which foster care is delivered in Leeds is set for a radical overhaul after the city council was chosen to adopt a new programme, known as Mockingbird.

Leeds City Council is one of eight authorities across the country to be selected for the new approach, which is being used more extensively after a successful pilot scheme.

The model, based on a system used in the United States, involves the use of a dedicated hub home of specially recruited and trained carers to offer support to a group of around eight foster families all living close by.

It is designed to allow families to support each other and share ideas and experiences during the fostering process.

Coun Judith Blake, executive member for children and families, said: “We are very pleased to be chosen by the Fostering Network to benefit from this funding which will help us expand on the success of our existing pilot.

“By adopting this unique approach we can utilise our most experienced foster carers and help create a network of support for kinship carers and help them develop new skills to ensure better outcomes for the children they look after.”

Melissa Green, director of operations at the Fostering Network, said: “The Fostering Network is committed to support foster carers and giving children in foster care the very best chance of a positive future. The funding we have received from the Department for Education’s Innovation Programme will allow us to take the learning from the Mockingbird Family Model and translate it to reflect fostering in the UK.”