“It’s important for youth with lived experience to feel heard and empowered because so often they don’t feel empowered, they feel small.” – Mockingbird youth leader
More than 230 attendees convened virtually for the Mockingbird Society’s 15th annual Youth Leadership Summit. The Mockingbird Youth Network is a statewide coalition that brings together young people who have experienced the child welfare system or homeless youth response system first-hand. This powerful team of young people work year-round to build legislative proposals for statewide change, so tomorrow’s youth won’t have to face the same challenges. DCYF partners closely with Mockingbird to support these young people in the development of their proposals.
This year, Mockingbird young adults proposed the following:
- Legal representation for all children and youth in care in Washington State
- Establish an intergovernmental task force to identify gaps and barriers for Native youth in accessing state services
- Ensure hygiene and wound care resources for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness after discharge from hospitals and clinics
- Address police brutality
- Improve homeless youth caseworker retention by reducing paperwork
- Make improvements to Child Protective Services to address racial disproportionality and other systemic biases with an equity toolkit that includes youth voice
- Improve family connections for children and youth in foster care, including those with siblings placed in other systems, through centralization, data collection and virtual visits
For more information on the Mockingbird Society or the annual Youth Leadership Summit, visit www.mockingbirdsociety.org.