Meet Sarah, our hub home carer from Devon
Every Mockingbird constellation is led by a hub home carer in partnership with a liaison worker. These roles are unique in foster care, building a community and supporting whole families. Sarah is a hub home carer in South Devon, and she talks to us about how she got into fostering and what her hub home carer role requires…
How did your fostering journey begin?
As a former primary school teacher, I always had a passion for working with children alongside their parents, with complex and challenging needs. Teaching children who were in care fueled my ambition to foster. Fostering had always been something my husband and I talked about “doing in the future” but family circumstances had never been quite right.
I remember the day I spoke to him about leaving the teaching profession to follow my desire to foster. It followed a meeting after school with students and parents ahead of a residential I was taking my class on. One of the children in my class fostered with their parents. In came this gorgeous, smiley fostered baby, who I got to cuddle for the entire evening. I spent a long time afterwards with the foster carer. We talked together about their fostering experiences. They even came to talk to my family at my home about it and from that moment, we were ready for this exciting challenge.
Why did you apply to become a hub home carer?
Once I saw a presentation about Mockingbird and I immediately got that sense that this was an exciting opportunity. I recognised the need for this model within the fostering service. Afterwards I spent time reading and watching videos about Mockingbird to gain a better understanding of how it worked. I had lengthy discussions with my family and our supervising social worker about the programme. We felt that the role of the hub home carer offered the hybrid between fostering and using my professional skills. Plus, I could see a connection with my experience of working with children with special educational needs and disabilities and previously supporting and mentoring newly qualified teachers and approved foster carers. It felt like becoming a hub home carer would give me the new challenge that I was seeking within fostering.
What do you think the hub home carer role requires?
The hub home carer role requires you to be a role model for good practice. A hub home carer needs to be able to communicate sensitive information in an empathic manner and remain non-judgmental. They also need to build trusting relationships with all parts of the constellation and remain child centered. Plus, it helps to be organised to ensure the smooth calm functioning of the constellation. Flexibility is key, and it helps if you can offer a warm friendly and welcoming home environment for all, which will put people at ease.
What aspects of being a foster carer makes you the happiest?
The greatest part of being a foster carer is making a difference to the life of every child we have been blessed to have in our care unconditionally. It makes me happy to watch them thrive, grow and develop, exceed expectations; overcome trauma related behaviours; experience firsts and watch them flourish.
You can find out more about the Mockingbird programme on the Fostering Network website.