We are at the end of an era — the era of Jim Theofelis’ extraordinary leadership of The Mockingbird Society. Thank you to all who attended Jim’s Salute event on May 14, which honored his commitment to the children, youth, and families that we serve. We wish Jim nothing but the best as he begins a new chapter, and we know Jim and Mockingbird will remain close friends and allies.
As Mockingbird begins a new chapter too, its stellar team of leaders will carry on with “the Mockingbird way” and remain laser-focused on improving foster care and ending youth homelessness. And we are excited to share several things here with you.
We are thrilled to share that every one of our legislative priorities passed during the 2015 regular legislative session!
Extended Foster Care (EFC) (SB 5740): Finally, the last category of youth will be eligible for EFC — youth with a documented medical condition preventing them from going to work or school. We are so thankful for the sponsors of the Senate and House bills for their leadership on this issue — Senator Joe Fain and Representative Tina Orwall.
Homeless Youth Prevention & Protection Act (SB 5404): Among other things, this groundbreaking legislation establishes a statewide office focused on youth and young adult homelessness and sets the goal that no young person will be discharged into homelessness from systems of care (like foster care or juvenile justice). We are ever-grateful to Governor Jay Inslee, First Lady Trudi Inslee, and Andi Smith from the Governor’s Policy office for their dedication to the issue. We thank also the Senate and House sponsors, Senator Steve O’Ban and Representative Ruth Kagi, for their leadership in ensuring the bill’s success.
Medication Management (HB 1879): Among other things, HB 1879 requires a second opinion when youth in foster care are prescribed anti-psychotic medications, regardless of age and the number of prescriptions. We are so grateful for Representative Kagi’s leadership on this issue.
These incredible victories are a testament to the strength of youth advocacy, community support, and legislative champions. For more detail on these tremendous legislative wins, please read Deonate Cruz’s legislative update on the front page.
Finally, we are thrilled to report that Mockingbird Network Representative, Violet Banks, spoke alongside a panel of other young people at a White House Policy Briefing on Youth Homelessness! Read more about Violet’s amazing trip in this issue of the Times. A special congratulations here to you, Violet, for your national advocacy and for being quoted in a White House blog post.
We hope you have an incredible start to your summer.