A second MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY TM Constellation will soon be established in Adelaide’s north-east, uniting up to 10 foster carer homes and providing connection, information, training and emotional support.
The MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY TM program, delivered in partnership between DCP and Life Without Barriers, creates Constellations of carers who live in a similar area and act as an extended family.
A ‘hub home’ operates at the centre of the Constellation, similar to a grandparent’s house that is familiar and comfortable.
Each child in the Constellation is welcomed by the Hub Home Provider for sleep overs and social events, or if there is difficulty at home and the child and/or carers could benefit from a break.
DCP Chief Executive Cathy Taylor said the program aims to create meaningful relationships with carers, siblings and other family members.
“We’ve had some fantastic feedback from the first Constellation, established in Adelaide’s southern suburbs in September 2021, which has helped carers access a peer support network that otherwise would not have existed,” she said.
Examples of how the southern suburbs Constellation have banded together and looked out for each other have included:
- camping together before Christmas as a way of helping to alleviate children and young people’s anxiety around the holiday season
- providing practical support for one another when families were identified as being impacted by COVID restrictions
- play dates and sleep overs within the Constellation families.
Feedback from carers in this Constellation has included:
“It has opened up a bigger social network for our two children…they have gained instant friendships with other caregivers’ children. My husband and I have found a bigger friendship and support group that we can relate to.” – Colleen
“We feel like we have found our ‘village’ to surround us and help raise our kids. We have made some amazing friends who we know will always be there for us and our kids. Recently when we were in crisis, it was so reassuring to know we had someone to ring who understood and was willing to be there for us by taking the kids for a few hours to give us time to debrief and just breathe.” – Paula
“Since joining MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM, I have met wonderful, child-focused carers. Together we celebrate each other’s special moments and support each other through the difficult times. Our precious children have become great friends and have an amazing time when we all get together socially.” – Madeline.
MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM Liaison Officer Kate Teekens said the program has provided a “fantastic framework to create a nurturing peer-support network for carers and young people”.