Since 2004, The Mockingbird Society has been working to deliver foster care through its innovative practice model that has long been called The Mockingbird Family Model™, or MFM for short. After much thinking and conversations with our stakeholders, partners, Mockingbird Families, and Mockingbird Youth Advocates, we've renamed our practice model MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ to better reflect what it's really all about.
MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ speaks to the essence of our groundbreaking approach to delivering foster care. It is empowering, human-centered, and oriented around family and community. We envision MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ enabling young people, regardless of race, to reach adulthood healthy, supported, and with full opportunity to thrive in life. And to us, our partners, and our Mockingbird Families, that means the work needs to put family at the forefront.
As the first MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Hub Home provider (almost 15 years ago!), I know that this is undeniably true. In traditional foster care, parents and kids often feel isolated because it's hard to get to know other people in the foster care system. But in my Mockingbird Family, we had several families in one Constellation, each ecstatic to be a part of a community with others who understood what they were going through. Young people were excited to meet other youth experiencing the same things they were. Personally, I was also excited to help build a community where we could create an extended family for our youth in care.
MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ creates a support network where everyone can develop close, healthy relationships with youth and adults in and outside of their foster home, just as you would with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins. I've seen this network extend well past the time someone is in a Mockingbird Family. I still have relationships with some of the young people who were in my Constellation ten years ago. They're grown now, with kids who have also been welcomed into the same Mockingbird Family that they experienced growing up. MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ truly creates lasting relationships.
The parents, kids, and communities that have experienced MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ love it because of the familial support it provides for the parents and the kids. Government and foster care agencies value its proven ability to retain foster parents and provide placement stability for foster youth at rates significantly higher than traditional foster care. And, those who have heard about it, are excited to bring MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ to their community because it promises to do more for the future of their kids.
New Mockingbird Families are being started all over the world — in the U.S. (Washington, California, and New York), and around the world (the U.K., Canada, and Australia). By year's end, we expect to have 608 Mockingbird Families that collectively have 1,061 kids. And we look forward to the MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ getting even bigger!
To learn more about bringing MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ to your community, visit www.mockingbirdsociety.org/mockingbird-family.