Warrington will be leading on the project and working with seven other local authorities – Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Halton, and St Helens to deliver the programme over two years.
Over £1million of the funding will go towards delivering a new, larger and improved Foster4 Recruitment Hub, which will launch in April 2024. The improved hub will help all councils in the consortium to deliver a more joined up approach to foster care recruitment and provide an offer that is attractive and supportive to prospective carers.
The remaining £1million funding will go towards the Mockingbird programme – which supports looked after children and their foster carers – as Warrington and Cheshire East will add another constellation to provide greater support to even more foster carers who will benefit from the model. All other local authorities will also have the opportunity to set up and embed their own first constellation using this funding.
Previously Warrington has set up and operates three Mockingbird constellations, which is a highly successful model that supports and retains foster carers effectively. Each constellation features an experienced Hub Carer at its core, providing crucial support for maintaining placements and ensuring stability and consistency for the children and young people in their care.
Warrington Borough Council will be the lead authority and will be using previous experiences to assist and support the other areas in the region on their journey to embedding Mockingbird successfully.
Funding has also been awarded for a regional recruitment campaign following the re-launch of the extended Foster4 Hub, where Warrington, along with its seven partner councils across Cheshire and Merseyside, will promote the new and improved offer that will attract and support foster carers for years to come.
Cllr Sarah Hall, cabinet member for children's services, said: "We are thrilled to have received this funding boost so that we can work with our partner councils to really transform fostering recruitment and retention across Cheshire and Merseyside.
“We are committed to ensuring that both foster carers and children in care have access to the best possible support. This funding will help to make a huge difference to children and carers through the Mockingbird programme, and the new Foster4 Hub and campaign will help to address the recruitment and retention challenges every council is currently facing.
“This funding is going to help us transform fostering services not only in Warrington, but across the entire region."
To find out more about becoming a foster carer and request a free information pack today, please visit foster4.co.uk or call the Foster4 Hub on 01925 444100.