By Elizabeth Amon, The Imprint, February 1, 2021
When teens and young adults who’ve lived through homelessness and foster care gather this year to tell Washington state policymakers what their peers need most, the youth advocates will have three priorities: they want lawyers for every foster child, a task force to focus on the experience of Native Americans and better support for the newly independent.
The youth advocates, ages 13 to 25, represent seven local chapters of The Mockingbird Society, that gather monthly to identify challenges and issues affecting their peers. Informed by community partners and staff at the Mockingbird nonprofit, they craft possible policy solutions to problems young people face, before gathering at an annual summer summit where members vote on their top priorities.
“The best policy is made when people who are directly impacted are involved in the policymaking,” said Liz Trautman, director of public policy and advocacy at The Mockingbird Society, which aims to transform foster care and end youth homelessness.