Thank you for inviting me here to see your great work firsthand. I especially want to thank: Jim, Founder and Executive Director of Mockingbird Society, Gwendolyn Townsend, CEO of One Church, One Child and Foster Parent, Dr. Alan Rothblatt, VP of Board of Directors of Mockingbird Society, Kip Tokuda, Director, Family & Youth Services (City of Seattle Human Services Dept),the staff, the advocates, Will Willoughby, a 19 year old Foster Child who just finished his 1st year of college, and of course – the children and parents -- we’re all working to support.
I can’t tell you how proud I am to have such an innovative program like The Mockingbird Society here in Washington State. This is just the type of effort I have in mind when I push in the Senate for more funding and support for foster and homeless children. I’m very proud to be able to help this great organization with a federal grant for $325,000. Together, you’ve developed a model that offers great promise for serving at-risk children across the country.
The Mockingbird Model looks at the quality of life of young people when they enter the system and also when they leave the system so we can make sure they’re getting what they need to succeed.
In the United States Senate, I serve on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and I consistently raise the special concerns of foster and homeless children with my colleagues in Congress. In fact, I’ve asked my committee to hold a hearing on the special needs and challenges of students in foster care.
I’m also working on two bipartisan bills to improve education for foster and homeless children. One bill focuses on educating foster and homeless children with disabilities. The other bill focuses on improving Head Start to help more foster and homeless children start school ready to succeed.
I’m also a strong supporter of internship opportunities for foster youth – so that young people can work with us on Capitol Hill and tell us what they need firsthand.
The Mockingbird Times is a perfect example of the kind of innovative and creative approach to building the skills and confidence that our foster and homeless youth need to succeed. Jim, as I present this check to you, I want to encourage you and your staff to continue to push the envelope, continue to be creative and innovative in developing practices and strategies that address the needs of foster and homeless children. I hope that these resources will strengthen your efforts to continue to improve the quality of care for Washington’s foster care and homeless children. These children are really all of our children. Their success is our responsibility, and I know that with your help -- their future is bright.