A new regional fostering hub will be created in Derby after D2N2 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, both in Derby and across the region. 

The D2N2 authorities 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, less young people would need to be placed in unfamiliar areas.  

Councillor John Whitby, Derby City Council Cabinet Member for Children’s Social Care, Learning and Skills, said:

This funding will be a huge boost for fostering in Derby and within the D2N2 partnership area. The regional recruitment hub, which will be based in the city, will enable us to bring more potential carers into fostering, to provide stable, loving, local homes for young people that need them. 

Our foster carers do a wonderful job and the creation of a Mockingbird constellation will give them extra support, ensure stronger matches between children and families and make fostering placements more stable.

The DfE Recruitment and Retention Programme will build on the impressive work already being done by the Council’s Fostering Service, which has seen a higher percentage of children placed with internal foster carers in the past three months, compared to previous quarters. This means less external fostering placements have been required and a higher percentage of our looked after children are being placed within 20 miles of their original home address.