The trial support scheme bringing foster families together in Devon

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A trial scheme that supports foster families by bringing them together in a supportive environment has been so successful it's hoped it will be rolled out across Devon.

The Mockingbird Project, led by the Fostering Network, works with local authorities to connect families with foster children so they can offer advice and support to one another.

It's not a substitute for social workers, but instead an extra layer of support.

The first group in Devon set up in South Hams, is working so well that Devon County Council says it wants to create more like it across the county.

Sarah Whitby, a home help carer who hosts the South Hams group at her house, told ITV News West Country: "We might talk about everyday things that might be happening in our lives, sometimes we bring issues and behaviours or things that are happening with the foster children in their care.

"We help each other if someone needs a hand with filling in some forms, or new carers might need some support with accessing a certain provision by the local authority."

Sarah supports her network at all hours, like if there is a crisis in the middle of the night or a foster parent needs a break.

Foster mums Kate and Anne-Marie are a part of Sarah's group. They said it gives the foster children other people who understand them.

Anne-Marie said: "They're normal kids, they just want to go out and play and be perfectly normal."

Kate added: "They're all in the same boat, they're all fostered. For them, the group means they can be more themselves without having to answer difficult questions.

"When they're at school, it's 'Where's your dad?' or 'What does your mum do for a job?'

"That doesn't happen here, those things don't ever come up. There's no pressure on them."

In response to the project's success, Devon County Councillor Andrew Leadbetter said: "We do want more projects, we've got some money from the Department for Education, we're putting money in ourselves and we're rolling out extra constellations of Mockingbird.

"We're planning one in Exeter and another in Devon in the next couple of months."