Advocating for Change
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.