Director of Practice Innovation

Job Type

Full Time


Minimum: $65,000
Maximum: $80,000
Details: $65K - $80K per year, DOE/DOQ



Start Date


Application Deadline



2100 24th Ave S
Suite 240
United States


The Mockingbird Society is a non-partisan advocacy organization focused on transforming foster care and ending youth homelessness. We do this by creating, supporting, and advocating for racially equitable, healthy environments that develop youth and young adults at risk of or experiencing foster care or homelessness. Our efforts are rooted in and guided by the voices of the communities we serve and those with lived experience in the systems we are trying to change. Ultimately, we want each and every young person, regardless of race and individual experience, to reach adulthood with an equitable opportunity to thrive.


The Director of Practice Innovation will have the opportunity to shape and oversee a fundamental shift in the way foster care is delivered in Washington state and across a growing community of state and national partners, with MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ -- an innovative and evidence-informed approach to more effectively deliver foster care. MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ creates a micro-community of foster parents and youth, with proximity and opportunities for frequent community gatherings, that is designed to provide a supportive family for parents and youth alike. It has been proven, through a recent state-wide evaluation, to retain foster parents and stabilize foster children and youth at significantly higher rates than Washington’s traditional approach to foster care. In response to significant demand, and in recognition of the success of this approach, MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ is also being implemented in California, New York, and internationally in Australia, the U.K., Canada, and Japan. This innovative, yet simple approach to delivering foster care holds the promise of reducing the amount of trauma young people experience during foster care, keeping kids in their home community, providing a familial and culturally relevant experience, and delivering better educational and life outcomes.

With the creation of the new Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) in Washington state and the passage of the federal Families First legislation, we have a rare moment to capitalize on and truly transform the way foster care is delivered, both in Washington and across our nation. Together we can ensure each and every kid’s experience in foster care is supported and healthy, and that it comes with the full opportunity to thrive in life. The Director of Practice Innovation will have the opportunity to work closely with foster parents, young people, lawmakers, educators, partner agencies, public systems, funders, and other key stakeholders, to make the promise of MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ a reality.

In addition to a deep emphasis in scaling and deepening the impact of our work in Washington state, the Director will provide technical support and training to our growing Mockingbird Families around the world. Working in close collaboration with partners in California, New York, Australia, the U.K., Canada, and Japan, the Director will provide strategic counsel and technical assistance to enable our partners to achieve better outcomes for young people and work to sustainably and strategically grow our MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™.

The Director will serve as a member of our senior management team and have responsibilities for supporting organizational goals and the vision and direction of the Executive Director.

This successful candidate will have a deep commitment and passion for the welfare of youth experiencing foster care, along with relevant lived experience, credibility, and proven effectiveness in supporting young people who have experienced trauma. The person will also exhibit a personal and demonstrated commitment to equity and anti-oppression practices in their previous work or community-based experiences.



The Director of Practice Innovation will have a unique opportunity to lead and scale an innovative, community-based approach to foster care that has the potential to keep young people in their communities – completely altering the way Washington state and child welfare agencies around the country and the world care for young people. Specifically, this leader will support the work in the following areas:

MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ - Program Development and Delivery

·        Act as the lead external representative of MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™, serving as the primary point of contact for all our partners and stakeholders in Washington state and beyond.

·        Engage and partner with the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF) in advancing the state-wide adoption and implementation of MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ as the way to deliver foster care across Washington.

·        In partnership with the Deputy Director (and external consultants as needed), develop and implement a robust data and evaluation plan that effectively tracks key indicators and informs ongoing practice improvements

·        Identify key advisors and facilitate the strategic development and implementation of a fee-for-service model that responds to growing demands for technical assistance from partners and sustainably supports the long-term expansion of the work. 

·        Oversee and provide technical assistance and training to agencies hosting and/or replicating MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ locally, nationally and internationally.

·        Ensure the quality of the program delivery and monitor fidelity with host agencies and external stakeholders.

·        Ensure consistent, accurate, comprehensive and high-quality data collection, program evaluation, and program reporting.

·        Create programmatic and program delivery documentation, including policies, curriculum, and procedures that support the growth of MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™.

Department Administration and Supervision

·        Serve on the organization’s senior leadership team and help guide organizational strategy.

·        Develop and monitor the Practice Innovation budget.

·        Produce internal program reports for staff and board, as necessary.

·        Assist Development Department with creating content for Practice Innovation proposals and provide assistance on producing funder reports.

·        Effectively manage Mockingbird Family™ contracts, ensuring adherence to all regulation and contract stipulations

·        Implement project plans and tracking systems as needed to achieve programmatic goals.

·        Develop, implement and administer evaluation and reporting tools that align with the program’s data and evaluation plan, and support the policy and development needs of the organization.

External Relations

·        Serve as a community relations ambassador for MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™, working with and educating interested third-party stakeholders in Washington, nationally and internationally to bring MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ to their communities.

·        Facilitate public presentations, workshops, and shared learning events.

·        Develop new partnerships and resources to amplify program impact.

·        When appropriate opportunities arise, participate in national and regional committees, meetings and workshops.

Team Development and Management

·        Recruit and train qualified staff and contractors to carry out the program activities.

·        Direct, supervise and manage all Practice Innovation staff and contractors.

·        Work with staff to develop objective performance measurements to ensure consistent, high-quality evaluation and goal setting for all employees and contractors.

·        Instill a sense of accountability among team members by modeling tight oversight of individual and organization performance standards.


While no one candidate will possess all of the qualifications listed below, we expect that the Director of Practice Innovation will embody many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

·        5-10 years of experience with and deep knowledge of the issues and obstacles faced by youths and families involved in the child welfare, juvenile justice, homeless, and other macro-systems.

·        Familiarity with and comfort engaging with a diverse set of key leaders in government, civic organizations, charitable agencies, community groups, and social service organizations across Washington state and within our partner expansion sites.

·        Demonstrated experience and effectiveness in strategic program design and robust business development.

·        A sophisticated understanding of the importance of embedded evaluation and data-driven decision making that is also grounded in the power of youth voice.

·        Excellent interpersonal and relationship-building skills; ability to maintain a positive, professional, and service-oriented demeanor toward a variety of donors, funders, sponsors and other stakeholders.

·        Exceptional presentation and training skills for a variety of audiences.

·        Proven track record in successfully leading, coaching, motivating and supervising a team.

·        Excellent oral and written communication skills.

·        Excellent writing and editing skills, with effective and strong attention to detail.

·        Ability to meet competing deadlines and balance priorities.

·        Ability to uphold confidentiality policy as it relates to sensitive information about families, young people, and organizations.

·        Master of Social Work or related degree (MPA, MPH, JD, etc), or a comparable combination of education and experience.

·        Proficient in MS Excel and Word Proficient in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).


·        Ability to perform physically; exerting 50 pounds of force occasionally and 10 pounds frequently.

·        Upon date of hire, must be able to pass a Washington State and national criminal history check.

·        Must have valid driver’s license, appropriate insurance and access to a vehicle or source of transportation for regular business use throughout Washington.

·        Available to work some evenings and weekends with occasional local, national and international travel.


Benefits include medical/dental insurance, generous vacation, sick leave, annual holidays, and a SIMPLE IRA retirement plan with employer match.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply

Send resume and cover letter to with “Director of Practice Innovation” in the subject line.

The Mockingbird Society is committed to actively creating racial equity and eliminating the impact of intersectionality by embodying the changes we want to see in our work. Applicants are requested to include a statement regarding how they would support and further this goal in their cover letter.

Position is open until filled; priority consideration will be given to applications received by June 19, 2018. Due to our desire to most effectively use our time in service to our mission, we ask that prospective candidates follow the above instructions; no calls, please.


The Mockingbird Society is an Equal Opportunity employer. Employment is based upon individual qualifications without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, marital status, veteran status, disabilities, political ideology, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other legally protected status. We welcome all applicants, especially individuals with experience as foster care providers, alumni of foster care, and those who have experienced youth homelessness.