Mockingbird Family Model


Mockingbird is an extended network of family support. It offers an alternative way of providing foster care and involves carers being part of a group with other foster carers.

Using the concept of a constellation, 6 to 10 satellite families of foster carers live close to a hub home of specially trained carers offering sleepovers for the children, peer support, joint planning and social activities.

The hub empowers families to support each other and overcome problems before they escalate. The constellation also builds links with other families important to the children’s care plans, providing them with enhanced opportunities to learn, develop and succeed.

How does it work?

Satellite family homes are supported by a central hub home. The hub home and satellite homes are supported by the fostering service.

The hub offers many opportunities for support and access to resources, including:

  • Planned breaks, and if required, emergency care for children and young people in the satellite homes
  • Regular social events for families providing peer interaction and support for caregivers, children and young people in the fostering household
  • Regular meetings for the satellite carers which provides social support and peer mentoring
  • Help to access community resources
  • Opportunities for children and young people with a shared experience to meet socially

Carers play an active role in the constellation and are committed to being a supportive member, sharing experiences and skills with each other.

Hub home carers

A hub home carer is:

  • An experienced care giver
  • Has strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Builds strong relationships with young people and adults
  • Understands developmental stages of children and adolescents
  • Excellent at building a sense of community
  • Trained to identify and effectively manage high risk situations
  • Has a flexible lifestyle and stable home life
  • Possesses strong social and emotional skills
  • Organised and creative
  • Has two spare bedrooms to consistently offer sleepovers when needed.

Satellite carers

A satellite carer:

  • Builds strong relationships with young people and adults
  • Is willing to play an active and supportive role in the constellation
  • Benefits from a supportive network of foster carers
  • Lives in reasonable proximity to the hub home.


Wigan is proud to have three constellations within the fostering community. The success of each is down to the genuine commitment of all the foster carers it involves.

If you are interested in being part ofour Mockingbird project, fill in an application to become a Wigan foster carer.

© Wigan Council