MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM is an innovative foster care delivery model that creates an extended family community designed to support, develop and retain quality foster families that can meet the challenging and complex needs of children and youth experiencing foster care. MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM provides a framework and opportunity for communities to come together in support of its young people. Foster families are valued and retained; youth thrive and communities strengthen their support around children and families that keep us connected.
MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM recreates the positive qualities and resources found in naturally thriving families in part through the role of the Hub Home—an experienced and licensed foster care family who provides support to other foster families participating in MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM. The community network created by MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM focuses on the individual needs of its youth by ensuring foster parents are highly skilled and effective in providing the best care for our community’s youths. When foster families are developed and brought into a supportive community like MOCKINGBIRD FAMILYTM, social workers are more able to focus on successful reunifications with family and loved ones and other meaningful permanency options for our young people.
After launching their first constellation in 2014, the UK has expanded their Mockingbird Family Constellations across the UK. In 2016, the Department for Education did an initial outcome evaluation for youth who were in the constellation. Initial outcomes found increased sense of peer-support for families and youth, better foster parent retention, and greater placement stability for youth in care.
WSIPP 2017 outcome evaluation
At the end of 2017, the Washington State Institute on Public Policy did a review on outcomes for youth in Mockingbird family Constellation. While data was limited, they found that youth had greater placement stability in their foster homes, and only 8% of foster families discontinued after 2 years (compared to the national average of 45%-60% of families who discontinue).
WSIPP 2018 cost-benefit analysis
Following up on the WSIPP outcome evaluation, WSIPP found that 67% of the time, having a constellation saved more than the cost of the constellation. Further research would provide a comprehensive look at financial impact of constellations.