Piloting the Mockingbird Family™ in Australia: Experiences of foster carers and agency workers

Helen McLaren, Emi Patmisari, Michelle Jones, Chris Skinner, Simone Mather

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Given that the number of children and young people needing care keeps rising and fewer people are becoming foster carers, efforts to support carers and workers in foster caring are essential. This paper considers the experiences of carers and foster care agency workers involved in Australia's piloting of the Mockingbird Family. With a view understanding experience, data were collected via focus groups with carers and agency workers (n = 20) involved in piloting, implementation and evaluation. Deductive analysis applied the theory of experience to generate understanding of experience, as both intrinsic and extrinsic dimensions to capture strengths in the Mockingbird Family's foster caring networks. These dimensions of experience included collective passions of carers and workers; experiential change over time; collective experiences as a moving force; and experiences as transformational. Understanding of experience associated with the perceived strengths of the Mockingbird Family, including strategies to promote strong professional relationships between carers and workers, is an important element in strengthening environments of children and young people in care. Safe and stable environments are crucial for wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Early online date24 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Oct 2023


  • Australia
  • carer attrition
  • foster care
  • Mockingbird Family
  • placement stability


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