Let’s pursue something more hopeful.

If you have been working in the foster care system for any amount of time, you know what we mean when we say that the problems can be daunting. The needs are huge, the resources few, and many of us are really, really tired.

In Phase 1 of our work, we collected a wide range of data about the experience of Washington state foster families. We walked away with seven key learnings, and as we reviewed them and planned our next steps, we decided that above all, this system needs an infusion of hope. And that is what we are working on.

How do we plan to go about that? Great question, because we all know that hope doesn’t grow on trees. In our opinion, hope does grow in the midst of productive conversations. When a group of motivated, accountable people can sit down and have a creative discussion about how to pursue change, hope is sparked. When those same people can go back to their tasks with a renewed sense of focus and energy, hope starts to spread. And when those people can iterate through various new ways of doing things until they find something that works, that is when we are really on a roll.


First, we talk.

Specifically, we talk about how to build change. How do organizations change in both the public and private spheres? What obstacles can we remove and what paths can we build? How can each of us take personal responsibility for our actions, but also tie that to a bigger change movement?

These conversations will happen in two main ways:

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If you are a leader that has responsibility for driving change within an organization, join us for a Book Club. We will read and discuss the book Switch (link), which is an accessible and inspiring read about how to make change actually happen.

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Change is not often a big bang, but is slow and steady, requiring a sense of focus and perseverance that can be hard to hold on to. Lunch and Learns will focus on how to plan and execute small change iterations. We will discuss continuous improvement methods and how we can all be applying them to our own work.


Second, we measure.

We think that for any big change to happen within Washington state foster care, there needs to be a foundational shift in the amount of hope that people feel. And the only way to know if that shift is happening is to measure and monitor.

Measure hope? Yes, hope is a very squidgy thing to measure, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t try. Not only are we going to ask respondents to rate their level of hope, but we also want to know whether they think change is happening, whether they feel empowered to participate, and what exactly contributes towards those feelings.

And we want your voice! Use the button below to chime in on our current survey.


Third, we help.

If your organization needs help and guidance when it comes to sparking change, we can help. In addition to trainings, we offer both strategic consulting services and project execution support.

To learn more, email us at labstaff@fosterinnovationlab.com.