Who the heck?
The Foster Innovation Lab was started by a group of foster and adoptive mammas who are determined to see something change within the system. Not only has it been heartbreaking to see what each of our kids has gone through, but fostering has been a brutal experience for all of our families.
This Lab has been our way of trying to make a difference.
In Phase One we have been committed to living out an attitude of "let's give it a shot." We've worked to embody collaborative learning, continuous improvement, and hustle. Along the way we have learned a lot. Not everything has worked as planned, and that's ok, because the best insights often come from failures.
To date, this has been purely a volunteer effort. We're unfunded, over-caffeinated, and determined to try. If you want to join us, join our email list to learn about the plans we have for Phase Two.
Lori is a full time working mama who was a foster parent for 3 years and has adopted one kiddo from foster care. She and her husband knew they wanted more children in their home and then learned of the huge need for foster families, and so they decided to become a licensed foster family to help make a difference. It was not long before their family was feeling caught up by a broken system and felt overwhelmed and powerless to truly help the foster children of Washington. After three years, they let their license expire but are determined still to make a difference in the lives of foster children in our state. Lori has been licensed through both the state, as well as a private agency and knows firsthand the challenges that foster families, and specifically, working foster families face. She is determined to help change things for the better and is excited to have your help!
Mackenzie was a public school teacher for nearly a decade and has been a foster parent for the last 5 years. She is passionate about supporting children in our community and encouraging and equipping others to do the same. Having adopted her three children from foster care, she and her husband have worked with many professionals within Children’s Administration and are familiar with the challenges that exist. After experiencing first hand the complexity of being a foster parent, seeing the unique needs of youth in foster care, and with a desire to bring about positive change in response, she completed her Masters in Nonprofit Leadership. By partnering with other foster parents and community advocates, Mackenzie is excited to improve our state’s foster care system.
After spending a year volunteering at a facility that cares for newborns affected by drugs in utero, Patty realized that she had much more to give than one hour a week. With that realization she decided to get into fostering and has been a foster parent for the past 2 ½ years. Currently she and her husband foster children from newborn to five years old. They have loved every minute caring for the little ones who have come through their home but have been frustrated at times with how the system works. Their greatest hope is that by being on the frontline advocating for change they will be able to support all of us who care deeply for the children and provide solutions that simplify the process and promote a child centered system. One little step at a time, strategically planned and implemented, will build a solid foundation for change and make a huge difference!
Shannon and her husband were foster parents for three years. They have adopted two kids from the system and are completing a third adult adoption. Fostering was a very difficult experience on many levels, leading Shannon to dive into advocacy as soon as her case was coming to a close. She was the Region 2 South 1624 rep for two years, during which time she was able to meet with numerous leaders throughout the state and regional Children’s Administration system. She has also had conversations about the current state of the system with legislators, judges, social workers, and more. Throughout it all, she has carefully monitored the ongoing complaints that are raised by foster families, working to prioritize and categorize the numerous issues. Following a trip to an innovation-focused event at the White House last year, Shannon combined all that she has heard and began building the plan for the Lab. Although the concepts within the Lab are new to the foster care system, they are common to many private companies. As a strategic consultant, Shannon has worked with a wide variety of companies that embrace these concepts and she is looking forward to using them to help shift the current culture of foster care in Washington state.