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Taking Good Care of Care Givers

By Degale Cooper, Director of Family Programs

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About a year ago, new Mockingbird Family Model Constellations were established in Kent, Carnation, Shoreline, Marysville and Bellingham to supplement two existing Constellations in Rainier Valley and Kirkland. These seven Constellations have served 85 foster families and 168 children and youth in foster care.

The MFM offers an alternative method for delivering foster care.

Hub Home families are at the center of providing support and coordination for a Constellation of 6 to 10 foster or kinship families (aka Satellite Families) who are geographically close to one another. The Hub acts as the centralized system of support, in essence “Grandma’s Home.” This support includes monthly Constellation gatherings at the Hub Home, planned and crisis respite available to families when needed, trainings, and social activities.

In just the first nine months of 2015, Mockingbird Family Model Hub Home families have provided 16,240 hours of much needed respite for foster families! This is a remarkable amount of respite when one considers that 15,044 hours of these hours were based on planned respite requests Hub Home providers fulfilled for Satellite Families. In the MFM, we are seeing that when planned respite goes up, crisis respite decreases. This also means that foster families have the support and resources needed to manage more effectively through challenging times. By taking good care of the people who are taking care of our children and youth, the MFM helps create better opportunities and improved outcomes for children and youth in foster care.

Child welfare systems throughout the United States are using family-centered practice models to strengthen their approaches and achieve positive outcomes. The Mockingbird Family Model is a perfect example of this trend.