MFM: A Comprehensive Approach
From preventative strategies to transitional and permanency solutions, the Mockingbird Family Model offers a comprehensive support structure for families and children across the continuum of the child welfare experience:
- Children and Youth ages birth to 21 years
- Birth Families
- Formal and Informal Kinship Caregivers
- Foster Families
- Foster-to-Adopt Families
- Adoptive and Chosen Families
Keeping Families Together
The Mockingbird Family Model creates a support network around families with the goal of keeping families together and reducing the number of children entering the foster care system. The Hub Home family helps birth parents and kinship caregivers effectively navigate systems and access community resources:
- Respite/child care and navigation of social service systems for birth families and kinship caregivers
- Peer mentoring and coaching in the context of a social network (Effective Parenting, Problem Solving, Conflict Resolution) to stabilize families and prevent crisis situations
Restructuring Foster Care
The Mockingbird Family Model offers innovative solutions for some of the most frequent problems facing children in the foster care system.
- Relationship-based planned and crisis respite care that prevents placement disruptions, provides a safe space for relationship pacing, and reduces caregiver burnout
- Peer mentoring and coaching to eliminate the feeling of isolation caregivers often experience, facilitate conflict resolution and problem solving, and increase placement stabilization
- Support for children to maintain connections with siblings and birth families while experiencing the safety, stability, and well-being associated with an extended family
Stabilizing and Supporting Transitions
The Mockingbird Family Model places a special focus on issues of permanency - including early reunification, adoption, and preparing youth for a healthy transition to adulthood.
- Early Reunification: Supporting families so kids can transition back home quickly
- Foster-to-Adopt: Helping children form relationships with potential adoptive families and supporting the transition process
- Transition to Adulthood: Preparing foster youth for a successful future and providing support as they transition into adulthood.
MFM Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a Hub Home and a Satellite Home?
The Hub Home, like Grandma or Auntie’s house, provides tangible support to both the children and adults in the MFM Constellation. Typically the Hub Home is a licensed foster family home, or in some cases a residential treatment center, depending on the emotional and behavioral needs (acuity level) of participating children and youth.
A Satellite Home is one of 6 to 10 licensed foster or kinship families in a Constellation providing full-time care to 1-6 children and/or youth.
What is the difference between a Foster Home and a Kinship Home?
Foster home are non-relatives who provide care to a child or youth in a family setting.
Kinship home are relatives (not a child or youth's birth parents) that provide care in a family setting.
How can I be a part of a Mockingbird Family Model Constellation?
Foster parents and caregivers:
Because The Mockingbird Society is not a family support, foster parent licensing, or child placement/adoptive agency, you will need to talk to your service delivery agency about becoming part of an MFM Constellation. Call your agency to find out if there is an MFM Constellation in your area. If not, ask your agency to call The Mockingbird Society at (206) 323-KIDS (5437) about becoming an MFM replication site.
Public and private child welfare agencies (Host Agencies):
First, to replicate the Mockingbird Family Model, your agency MUST be a family support, foster parent licensing, or child placement/adoptive agency. The Mockingbird Society is a non-profit child welfare advocacy agency and does not supervise children in foster care, license foster care providers, or place children for adoption.
Secondly, determine whether the MFM is the right service delivery structure for your agency by reviewing the information available on our website, including the three-year evaluation of the MFM applied to foster care, conducted by the University of Washington, School of Social Work (2004-2006).
If your agency goals fit with those of the Mockingbird Family Model (supporting child/youth health, safety, social development and well-being; supporting families to prevent out-of-home placement; and/or restructuring and optimizing foster care delivery, including preventing child/youth placement disruptions, connecting siblings, supporting caregiver retention, and supporting connections to cultural identity), contact The Mockingbird Society at 206-323.KIDS. We will arrange a telephone discussion for you with the appropriate staff member who will be happy to answer your questions and describe the technical assistance and training process that is required to replicate the Mockingbird Family Model.
As a community member, how can I support a Mockingbird Family Model Constellation?
Community organizations, neighbors, and friends have an opportunity to support the MFM program by making a personal contribution to The Mockingbird Society to help us advocate for the expanded implementation of the MFM.