They firmly believe that it’s most important to listen to each youth’s experience, history and needs.
Their program focuses on finding permanency for youth who are most at risk of “aging out” of foster care (older youth, sibling groups, minority groups, children who have been in foster care for a long time, and/or have experienced a previous failed adoption).
Mobility mapping is a relaxed and informal method of exploring a young person’s history, in order to identify people and relationships that might provide permanency.
To avoid re-traumatizing young people, facilitators are encouraged to encourage often, and to redirect away from painful and negative memories.
Sample questions might include:
- Who in your family might know other relatives’ last names?
- Who in your family would be the person who would be most likely to coordinate family reunions?
- Creating maps of where the young person lived at certain times in their lives, and the person / people in their life at that time that they trusted.
- Youth are invited to use marker to identify the people they feel safe with
- And to repeat this with a different color marker to mark the people they do NOT feel safe with
- At that point, young person (him or herself) is empowered to identify the people from the safe list that they would want to reconnect with
Mobility mapping also encourages youth to identify their own greatest needs:
- "What five things are missing from your life right now?"
- "What are the top five things you need - they can be people, things, or unanswered questions."
- Youth can rank those top things in order based on most to least importance.