Who We Are

our vision

Each and every young person, regardless of race and individual experience, reaches adulthood with an equitable opportunity to thrive.


our mission

Our mission is to transform the foster care system and end youth homelessness. Mockingbird creates, supports, and advocates for racially equitable, healthy environments that develop young people at risk of or experiencing foster care or homelessness.


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 young people experiencing foster care and/or homelessness. Since then, our work has expanded to include working with foster families and child-placing agencies to improve outcomes for both young people and their caregivers. Recognizing a clear link between experience in the child welfare system and homelessness, Mockingbird also began addressing issues around youth homelessness in 2013.

Our Guiding Principles

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

Young people in "the system" are our responsibility.

Systems do not raise healthy children – families and communities do.

Programs do not create nurturing homes – dedicated adults do.

Institutions do not change lives – relationships do.

Collaboration, inclusion – honoring all voices – is the heart of building a world‐class foster care system.

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.

Race Equity Commitment

In 2017, The Mockingbird Society embarked on an ambitious 3-year strategic plan which includes a priority area for the development of an intentional, agency-wide equity and inclusion plan that focuses on internal operations, program services, and governance. Moving forward, Mockingbird is committed to put race equity at the forefront of all the work we do.

We have created a Racial Equity Committee, comprised of board members, youth and adult staff, to guarantee this priority remains critical to our work. 

Race Equity Mission:

The Mockingbird Society is committed to actively creating racial equity and eliminating the negative impact of intersectionality in our work by embodying the changes we want to see.

Race Equity Vision:

The Mockingbird Society will define racially equitable partnerships, practices, and processes. Mockingbird has an internal culture dedicated to addressing racial inequity and intersectionality for ourselves and those we serve. We are committed to:

  • Undoing the effects of anti-blackness and indigenous invisibility in systems of care, with the understanding that these mental models are the foundation of all other systems of oppression
  • Acknowledging the role of racism in outcome disparities for young people who are systems involved
  • Addressing structural racism in our community
  • Centering the voices of those most impacted by disparity