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Advocating for Change

summit2012

I never cared about politics before I was introduced to The Mockingbird Society. At Mockingbird, I learned that my voice could change the world. I learned that I could do something other than complain about the problems with the foster care system. I learned that I could actually help fix the problems.

The biggest change I felt like I pushed along is making sure teen parents know about their rights and responsibilities, as well as their social workers and caregivers. In April, 2011, I brought the issue of teen parents not knowing their rights and having their rights violated to my chapter. We all decided to have that be our Summit topic. In June, 2011, we presented the issue to the Washington State Supreme Court Commission on Children in Foster Care .We told them that teen parents in foster care aren't adequately notified of their rights, responsibilities, and resources when it comes to their children. We told them that CPS tried to put my son in Dependency because of my age and caffeine and nicotine intake while nursing. I told them that when the judge denied that as reason to remove my son from my custody, I was told that I had to sign a voluntary placement agreement to allow the state to provide funding for my son. Again, I found that was not the case. Because of these issues and more, Children's Administration created the Pregnant and Parenting Youth Workgroup, which I am a member of today.

Our Vision

Our vision is for all young people to reach adulthood healthy, supported, and with full opportunity to thrive in life.

Our Mission

Our mission is to improve foster care and end youth homelessness.

 

Our Guiding Principles

Our belief that all children need the same things – love, care, support and resources – drives everything we do at The Mockingbird Society. Seven core principles encompass our work:

• Children in "the system" are our children, our responsibility.
• Programs do not create nurturing homes – dedicated adults do. 
• Systems do not raise healthy children – families and communities do. 
• Institutions do not change lives – relationships do. 
• The most effective advocacy is innovative and collaborative. 
• Families and young people impacted by the system play essential leadership roles in bringing about change. 
• The only way to prevent future problems is to look for solutions that address root, "upstream" causes. 
• Collaboration, inclusion – honoring all voices – is the heart of building a world‐class foster care system.

Our History

The Mockingbird Society is an advocacy organization founded in 2000 by Jim Theofelis to provide meaningful opportunities for youth across Washington state to participate in the social justice effort to improve the foster care system. Its first project was The Mockingbird Times, then a monthly newspaper written by young people who have experienced foster care that aims to have a positive impact on the public perception of the children and adolescents who are foster kids. Since then, our work has expanded to include working with foster families and child-placing agencies to improve outcomes for both foster kids and foster parents. Recognizing a clear link between experience in the child welfare system and homelessness, Mockingbird also began addressing issues around youth homelessness in 2013.