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New support for foster families to overcome trauma

Practical and emotional support from communities of foster carers to boost their resilience

The Department for Education has announced that "foster families will benefit from projects offering short breaks, mentoring, emergency sleepovers and social activities with other families to help create stability as they adjust to their new lives together."

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched fostering projects in ten new locations in order to help foster families with practical and emotional support and advice amid the day-to-day challenges of taking in a vulnerable young person from care and create a stable environment for them to live in.

The Mockingbird Family Model, delivered by The Fostering Network, brings foster families together in groups, centred around one experienced foster carer who lives nearby to act as a mentor. This builds a network on which they can rely in difficult moments, in the same way that families who are together from birth often rely on the support of extended family, friends or neighbours, and helping them cope with challenging behaviour or problems caused by trauma before they escalate.

Expanding the Mockingbird Family Model into new areas builds on a programme which the DfE says has real value to foster families, helping them to form vital communities so that parents can rely on one another through tough times and vulnerable children get the safe, supportive home life they deserve.

The Dfe has also launched new projects in 18 council areas to support vulnerable children coping with chaotic home lives as a result of their parents' problems with mental health, domestic violence or addiction. Announced in April and backed by £84 million secured in last year's Autumn Budget, these projects reaffirm the core principle of the Children Act 1989 that where possible, children are best brought up with their parents.

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