A new regional fostering hub will be created after local authorities secured £1.626m in funding.
The recruitment hub will engage with prospective foster carers from their initial enquiry through to their application. The funding will also help improve the support available for existing foster carers, across the region.
The D2N2 authorities (Derby City Council, Derbyshire County Council, Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council) have successfully applied to join the Department for Education’s Fostering Recruitment and Retention programme. Derby City Council will lead on the project, receiving the funding to implement the regional hub and create a ‘Mockingbird constellation’ in each local authority area.
Mockingbird is a pioneering programme delivered by The Fostering Network in partnership with fostering services across the UK. The programme nurtures the relationships between children, young people and foster families supporting them to build a resilient and caring community of satellite families called a constellation.
The extended family model will provide sleepovers and short breaks, peer support, regular joint planning and training, and social activities. The extra support will strengthen the relationships between carers, children and young people, fostering services and birth families.
It is anticipated that the DfE Recruitment and Retention Programme will increase the recruitment of foster carers and provide the support carers need to continue in the role. With more carers in children’s own communities, fewer young people would need to be placed in unfamiliar areas.
Cllr Cheryl Barnard, Portfolio Holder for Children, Young People and Education, said: ”The city and the region need more foster families to come forward to support our looked-after children. Being able to place our young people with our own foster carers provides huge benefits to the children, keeping them within their own communities. Having been a foster carer myself, I can say that being able to give a vulnerable child love and support and to really make a difference, is such a rewarding experience.
“Using our own carers means that we don’t have to pay the extra overhead added by private-sector care provision, so our carers get the full benefit of the tax-free allowances that the council provides.
“I look forward to the regional hub providing us with economies of scale and a steady flow of marvellous people who want to give a cared-for child a better chance in life.”
More information about fostering for Nottingham can be found here www.fosternottingham.com