work to change
that affect them
and the young
will experience the
system after them.”
The Mockingbird Society is committed to addressing inequity and transforming the systems and institutions that impact youth experiencing homelessness and foster care. We also recognize that the inequities that exist in our society as a whole have a far greater impact than just those in the systems we seek to transform. In this issue, young people voice their opinions in an effort to draw attention to the many ways inequity plays a role in our lives.
Inequity negatively impacts our most vulnerable people. As evidenced, children and youth that experience homelessness or foster care face unacceptably negative outcomes compared to their peers. These outcomes disproportionately affect communities of color, LGBTQ+ youth and young people with disabilities. Despite facing these challenges, Mockingbird’s youth advocates work to change the systems that affect them and the young people who will experience the system after them.
This past summer, the Seattle Chapter proposed that all foster parents receive inclusive and culturally competent training to ensure that LGBTQ+ youth receive the same level of care as their peers. As it stands, LGBTQ+ youth too often enter a foster care system that is ill-equipped to competently meet their needs. The Olympia Chapter advocated for a revised vulnerability assessment tool — one that priorities housing for young people with disabilities, foster care history, and other key factors. In Tacoma, young people are working to ensure that the trainings provided to shelter staff are youth-informed, so that staff is better able to support LGBTQ+ young people, those with disabilities, and youth who experience mental health crisis.
In Canada, Usma nuu-chah-nulth Family & Child Services adopted MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ as the way to deliver foster care, because it resonated with how they have cared for their children for generations, as an extended family. There are now over 90 foster homes on Nuu-chah-nulth land (just 3 years earlier they had less than 10 foster homes). Given the historical trauma of forced assimilation through boarding schools and other means of separation, this model is especially impactful.
Inequity is a lack of fairness that can be addressed. Inequity is avoidable. By highlighting and addressing these issues, we are getting closer to realizing the vision and mission of the Mockingbird Society; for all young people to reach adulthood healthy, supported, and with the full opportunity to thrive. Together, we can transform foster care and end youth homelessness.