Province Introduces New Approach to Foster Care
The Province is introducing a new approach to foster care as it works on redesigning the system.
“After reviewing models used in other jurisdictions, the Department identified Mockingbird Family as our desired approach,” said Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane. “This is a world-renowned approach adopted internationally, including in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States – and we think it will be a great fit for Nova Scotia.”
The Mockingbird Family concept features “constellations,” with a hub or central home having six to 10 satellite homes connected to it. The hub home is a familiar and comfortable place where children and youth can gather for fun or social events, as well as a location for peer support and respite care if the child, youth and/or foster caregiver needs a break. Satellite homes are foster homes that offer full-time care to children or youth in care.
This approach creates an extended family-like model with a sense of community and support between satellite homes that feed into the central hub home, as though with a grandparent or auntie’s house. Families will have a network of peers who understand the unique challenges that come with caring for children, youth and their families.
Children and young people will have a community of caring adults and peers who know them and ensure they have support and a place where they feel like they belong.
This fall, the Department is implementing the first two constellations in Halifax and Cape Breton and will gather feedback before expanding the program across Nova Scotia starting in 2024.
The design of Mockingbird Family is simple yet powerful. Throughout history, people have relied on networks of extended family to celebrate with us in times of joy and support us when life gets hard – be they birth family, chosen family or otherwise. Mockingbird Family helps create these networks for the children, young people and families that touch the child welfare system.
Hayley Bridwell, Director of Practice Innovation, The Mockingbird Society
I’m so excited to be one of the first hub homes and a part of this amazing redesign. I cannot wait to get started in the training and implementation phase.
Foster caregiver and hub home provider, Halifax Regional Municipality
Change is good and we’re excited!
Foster caregiver and hub home provider, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
- the foster care redesign budget is $34 million over three years, followed by an addition of $16.7 million annually
- with provincewide implementation, all foster families will fit into this new constellation approach
- a new recruitment campaign for foster caregivers is underway; people who are interested can call 1-800-565-1884 to ask questions or arrange to attend an information session