Children and young people in foster care in Hertfordshire are benefitting hugely from the Mockingbird Programme, an award-winning and sustainable foster care model

The Mockingbird Family Model, led by The Fostering Network, is an innovative method of foster care that sees a Hub foster carer supporting a group of fostering households (referred to as constellations) set up in a similar structure to that of an extended family.

The programme improves the stability of fostering placements and strengthens the relationships between carers, children and young people, fostering services and birth families.

Thanks to the community support Mockingbird provides, 48 children have been provided with secure and stable families, and the breakdown of relationships has been avoided, meaning more of Hertfordshire’s children can grow up with the stability they deserve

Jools Newman and her husband Ed are Mockingbird hub foster carers in Hemel and Tring, and were the first hub carers in Hertfordshire. The pair have been supporting the scheme for the past three and a half years


“Mockingbird is as much about the carers as the children because the carers need support as well, and that leads to happy children.” There are currently seven families – 12 parents and 12 children – in Jools and Ed’s hub, and they are offered practical support such as sleepovers and organised activities as well as emotional support. “The families in our hub become like extended families. I sometimes help picking up children from school, we offer sleepovers, we organise coffee support chats, we organise events like barge trips, Ninja Warrior and Easter egg hunts. “I also go to all the care plan meetings for the children, and I am still connected to some of the children who used to be on the hub. It’s an amazing programme, as it creates a community.”

– Jools, Mockingbird Hub Carer


“I really value the Mockingbird scheme, it’s great for both the foster carer and the child. I’ve been a foster carer for over 20 years so I know the difference it has made to fostering. “There’s such excellent support. If I feel I need to chat about anything, I can chat to Jools and also to the other foster carers in the hub, it really is like an extended family. “We have a hub meeting once a month, I meet with the other foster carers regularly, and the children have the chance to take part in lots of activities. It means that the children can mix with other like-minded children and feel totally at home.”

– Gloria, a foster carer who is looking after a teenage boy and greatly benefits from the support of Jools’ foster hub.

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer with us, please get in touch. We welcome people from all backgrounds, of all different ages, genders, ethnicities, no matter your relationship status or sexual orientation, so if you think you can make a difference to children’s lives please contact us on 0800 917 0925 or for more information.

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