The Parent Mentor Program of Thurston and Mason Counties was initiated through a collaborative partnership between Catalysts for Kids, Children’s Administration, Thurston County Superior Court and Family Education and Support Services. This evidence based model is a replication of a successful program implemented by King County sponsored by the Court Improvement Program of Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts.
Parent Mentor Team:
Tonia Morrison: Parent Engagement Coordinator
Michelle Clark: Parent Mentor Lead
Bill Knight: Parent Mentor Lead
Natalya Kinder: Parent Mentor Lead
Arica Garback: Assistant Coordinator/Contact Person
Parent Mentor Description:
The Parent Mentor Program consists of two main elements:
A parent who has experienced the “system” and successfully exited, now serves as a Parent Mentor. This person has been through significant training and will provide outreach at court shelter care hearings, review hearings, and some CPS (Child Protective Service) case staffing in an effort to connect with parents newly entering the “system”. The Parent Mentor provides support, helps with access to community resources and provides guidance through various social service systems. Overall, the Mentor provides HOPE – they themselves have successfully exited this process, reminds them that it is doable, and that reunification is possible. Mentors may also assist parents by attending Family Team Decision meetings, Family Recovery Court and/or Drug Court sessions. The Mentor also gathers contact information from the parent, signs him/her up for the Dependency 101 class, and provides any resources that can benefit them in their dependency case.
Child Welfare parent Mentors coordinate a monthly 2-hour training session designed to educate the parents about the dependency system and help them learn to navigate it.
By providing this program, we expect to find an increase in parental engagement in the dependency process; a reduction in the time children spend in foster/relative placement, and increased successful reunifications. This program has also shown a decrease in system re-entry. Hence, we serve not only parents – by implication, we serve children, which are the most impacted by the dependency process.
This class is provided once a month in Thurston and Mason County, Thurston is the 3rd Tuesday and Mason is the last Thursday of each month.
Parent Forward Support Group:
The Parent Forward Support Group is a place in which parents have the opportunity to share their experiences, frustrations, and concerns with one another in a safe environment.
This support group meets every 1st & 3rd Wednesday from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. This is an adults only class and does not have child care available.
Please call for more info or check out the flyer below:
For more information about the program, contact Tonia at: Tonia@FamilyESS.org or Arica at 360-754-7629.