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Skookum House

A little more like Grandma's house

A brief introduction

Skookum House is technically a group home, but we like to think it's a little more like Grandma's house. Skookum House welcomes children just entering foster care from across western Washington during their first 72 hours (business days) of foster care. This gives their social workers enough time to find the best long-term placement for each child. Our team of over 130 volunteers provide 24/7 care and are happy to bake cookies, play Legos or snuggle with the bunny in the backyard. Skookum House is staffed by two heroes, including our longest-standing staff member and program manager Abby Smith. Their goal: to eliminate emergency placements and ensure a smoother transition for kids into foster care.

We saw a problem and decided to fix it

We call it the 72-hour problem. Overtaxed social workers grappling with a severe shortage of foster parents often face a significant challenge in finding foster homes for children entering care. The result is foster children spend hours or days waiting in government offices before being placed in homes that are often not ready to receive them. The state calls these emergency placements and foster children who experience them face a greater number of placement changes, only increasing the levels of trauma. But, given enough time, about 72-hours that is, social workers can find the right long-term placements for children. This reduces the amount of placements changes, often helps siblings stay together and ensuring a smoother transition into foster care. 

A safe place for little dreams to come true

Life for kids entering foster care is turbulent at best. We work to make Skookum House a safe place to eat, play and have a few dreams come true. A stay at Skookum includes:

  • "Friends" (a.k.a. volunteers) whose shifts are staggered so there's always a familiar face.
  • Plenty of kid-friendly meals like chicken nuggets and mac n' cheese.
  • Clothes to keep for the for the littlest to the most grown up.
  • Their very own hand-made sock monkey to keep close.
  • LOTS of toys, books, games, movies and video games for all ages. There's even a hand-made mud kitchen in the backyard and a bunny named Wittacker.
  • A Skookum van for visits to the doctor, commute to their school, or (our favorite) trips to get ice cream. 
  • Movie tickets, trampoline park passes or admission to the local swimming pool. 

Want to join us?

If you can babysit your nieces and nephews, you can be a Skookum volunteer. We have a variety of shifts throughout the week available with a minimum commitment of one shift per month. Not able to volunteer but still want to help? We're always looking for a few extra diapers, books or whatever else you think will help make a child smile. Donations can be brought to our offices at 1707 North State Street, Bellingham, WA 98225. Want more information? Follow the links below.