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Mockingbird Times - August, 2015

Mockingbird times 

 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MBT!

 

Happy Anniversary MBT!

The month of August marks the 14-year anniversary of the Mockingbird Times. Over the years, there have been many changes to the Times. To celebrate Mockingbird Times’ anniversary we would like to show you the evolution of the Times.

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Capitalizing On Our Success

From Tuesday, July 14th, until Friday, July 17th, fellow Network Representative Liz Hernandez, Youth Programs Director Fred Kingston, and I attended a national conference on homelessness in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. We went to learn more about work being done to end homelessness nationally, and to start planning a pre-conference forum for youth at the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) youth and families conference next February. This was a pretty amazing experience. I learned tons about what other cities are doing, and I hope to incorporate these lessons into my advocacy efforts in King County.

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Letter from the Executive Director

Letter from the Executive Director

August turns out to be a busy month at The Mockingbird Society. When I interviewed for the job of Interim Executive Director, I asked Network Rep. Janell Braxton whether the summer was a quieter time at TMS. The answer was a resounding “No!”

Although the 2015 legislative session — the longest session in state history! — just ended, our chapters are already in the process of developing advocacy priorities for 2016!

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The Element of Youth Voice

We need better data to guide policy ratification and reform the child welfare and youth homelessness systems. Better data means that it is informed by the young people who have experienced those systems first-hand. The element of youth voice has the potential to play a vital role in the process of data collection, and is something that should be implemented more frequently moving forward in time.

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Family Rejection and Youth Homelessness

One misperception we are constantly challenging at Mockingbird is that some young people choose to be homeless. We believe that youth homelessness is never truly “chosen” but is sometimes the only option perceived to a youth in a crisis. There are three basic reasons why youth become homeless: home isn’t supportive, home isn’t safe, or home doesn’t exist. I will be producing a three part series addressing each of these three reasons. In this article, I am going to elaborate on how youth become homeless because their home isn’t supportive, which focuses on LGBTQ, pregnant or parenting, and mentally ill youth.

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An Ideal Transition Plan

Foster youth aging out of care are supposed to have a 17.5 meeting (a.k.a. transitional planning meeting) to discuss important topics to successfully set them up for adulthood. However, sometimes these meetings don’t occur or youth don’t remember having one. In Washington state, Children’s Administration has a policy that a transitional planning meeting must take place within 90 days of age 18, and a representative of the youth must work with them to create a personalized transition plan that includes health insurance, employment, education, housing, workforce support, local opportunities for mentors, and continuing support services. The 17.5 meeting is a vital transition of a young person’s life from care and an ideal meeting would prepare the youth for after care.

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All TMS Priorities Funded by New State Budget

At the end of June, The Mockingbird Society and the entire state waited with bated breath, hoping that our priorities would be funded and that the state government wouldn’t shut down on July 1st. If the Legislature didn’t agree on a budget by June 30th, state offices would shut down and critical services would cease to operate. On June 29th, the state Legislature agreed on a budget for the 2015-17 biennium which runs July 1, 2015-June 30, 2017. That budget funded all of our priorities!

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Chapter Voices

“What is your dream career, and why?”

“My dream career is to be a senator. I would like to impact foster care on a larger level and show young females that they can pursue male dominated fields too.” Olympia chapter leader

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