Groundbreaking ‘family community’ initiative introduced to enhance care and assistance for foster families in Oldham.

Oldham Council is thrilled to announce the launch of the Mockingbird programme, a pioneering initiative aimed at enhancing care and support for foster families in the area. This innovative scheme, developed by The Fostering Network and now implemented by Oldham Council, was officially unveiled at Cockfields Farm on Saturday 2 March.

The Mockingbird Family Model focuses on creating a supportive community for foster families, with one central family providing guidance and assistance to others in their network. Councillor Shaid Mushtaq, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, expressed his enthusiasm for the programme, highlighting the importance of foster families coming together to offer more than just practical support. The initiative aims to build a compassionate community beyond traditional foster care structures, ensuring the well-being of every child in the community.

Specially trained foster carers, Jane and Robert Dyke, have been appointed as the central hub for the first Oldham group, providing support to eight families with 18 fostered children. The Dykes believe that the Mockingbird programme will have a positive impact on the families they assist, promoting positive relationships for foster children and improving their life choices.

The scheme offers a range of support services to foster families, including trained carers, advice, and social activities. Participants in the programme receive training, access to a dedicated social worker, and a helpline available outside of regular hours for assistance.

Catherine Tyrie, Advanced Practitioner and Lead on Mockingbird at Oldham Council, expressed her excitement for the programme, highlighting its potential to strengthen relationships and create a supportive community for foster carers, children, and young people.

By collaborating with The Fostering Network, Oldham Council has demonstrated its commitment to improving the lives of foster families and the children in their care. The Mockingbird programme is set to revolutionise foster care practices, ensuring that families feel supported and connected. The initiative has received national recognition for its positive impact on young people and foster families, winning a prestigious charity award for its compassionate and sustainable approach to delivering foster care.

Individuals interested in becoming foster carers are encouraged to contact Oldham Council for more information on the fostering process, benefits, and financial support available. They can call 0161 770 6600 or visit www.oldham.gov.uk/fostering for further details.

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