Q&A With Hub Home Parent and Mockingbird Board Member, Shana Burres
By Jessica Schreindl, Communications Manager
We sat down with Hub Home parent and The Mockingbird Society board member Shana Burres to talk with her about MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ -- Mockingbird’s alternative foster care model that functions like an extended family. Shana and her husband, Corey, have been fostering for four years. They live in Olympia, WA with their three children Ana, Elle, and Judah.
Here’s what Shana had to say:
Q: What difference have you seen MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ make in the lives of young people in foster care?
“One of the greatest challenges young people in foster care face is a lack of consistency. MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ provides that consistency both during placement and day-to-day experiences. For example, if a young person needs a ride from school to an appointment, instead of an unknown driver picking them up, they can be driven by their Hub Home “aunt” or “uncle” who they know well and have a relationship with. Of course, usually these rides include a little bonus like stopping by the park or picking up dinner on the way home. These small moments are common for youth living with biological family but are rare for those living in care. This same consistency is also beneficial when foster parents need extended respite (a break), or when the placement is in transition. Having a known, fun place to stay can mean the difference between a traumatic change or one that contributes to permanency.”
Q: Why did you decide to become part of a Mockingbird Family Constellation?
“While we were completing our licensing paperwork to become foster parents, it became obvious that we’d developed a habit of building a community of support for ourselves and our friends. We were the emergency contact for many of our friends and community members, and there was hardly a week where we weren’t hosting a get-together. It was common for our friends to use our house as a last-minute daycare or a weekend-away spot. In short, we were already a Hub Home! It was a natural choice for us to join a Mockingbird Family Constellation where we could continue to use our community-building skills and support network.”
Q: What makes MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ different?
“One of the things that we have found unique and wonderful about MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ is that, like most families, it grows through a combination of intentional and gifted additions. The people that make up a Constellation come from a variety of backgrounds, beliefs, experiences, and fostering motivations. The model lends itself to richer and more fulfilling relationships because it’s built on a shared desire to make an impact and a deep commitment to the children and families in the Constellation. Which means that each new Constellation home is a valued and important part of the family from their very first meeting!”
Q: What can the child welfare system learn from MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™?
“The goal of the child welfare system is reunification. There is nothing more effective in accomplishing that task than a large supportive network that stabilizes placements, provides consistency and support to the young people, and serves as a resource for the family after reunification. We know that children and youth thrive when they are connected to their communities. MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ is a guaranteed community of support for youth both during and after their time in foster care.”
ABOUT MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™:
MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ is an innovative foster care model that creates an extended family network made up of local foster families and experienced foster parents that support one another. This network helps to support, develop, and retain quality foster families so they can meet the challenging and complex needs of children and young people experiencing foster care.