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Maria and her family

Published: Tuesday, 10th November 2020

 Fostered children and young people in Royal Greenwich are now benefitting from an award-winning fostering programme.

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is part of The Fostering Network’s Mockingbird programme which has seen off other outstanding projects to win the Big Impact Award at this year’s Third Sector Awards.   

Mockingbird uses a pioneering model which sees a constellation of fostering households set up in a similar structure to an extended family.  

As one of the pioneering London boroughs to adopt the programme in 2015, the Royal Borough of Greenwich has seen increased retention rates in foster carers who may have otherwise left the role and experienced enhanced placement stability in fostered children and young people. 

Cllr Matt Morrow, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “We’re really proud to be part of the Mockingbird programme which is at the forefront of developing a service that better supports all children in foster care. It has given foster carers and young people in our fostering services a sense of a positive extended family that they may have never had. It has allowed our foster families to feel like they’re part of a much bigger, likeminded community and offered a space for them to talk to other people similar to them. Winning this award is a testament to all of the hard work that goes into the programme from staff and foster carers alike and I’d like to offer a huge congratulations to all involved.”  

The extended family model provides a high level of stability to children and young people and strengthens relationships between all members of the constellations, including birth families and social workers.    

Maria, a Royal Greenwich foster carer, said: “Most fostered young people don’t have the benefit of having the experience of going for sleepovers at their aunties, uncles or their grandparents. With the Mockingbird family model, this is not only made possible, but it is ‘normalised’.” 

Lily Stevens, Head of the Mockingbird programme at The Fostering Network, said: “We are delighted to have won in this category, it is testament to the faith of our funders and partners in a compassionate, sustainable, new way of delivering foster care. It also speaks volumes about the efforts of everyone involved in the programme.”  

For more information on the Mockingbird programme and how to become a foster carer in Royal Greenwich, visit www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/mockingbirdprogramme.