I Partner with Treehouse for Graduation Success: Lonnie Carlson

By Lonnie Carson, Social Worker & Treehouse Partner

For the past ten years, I’ve worked for Children’s Administration as a Social Worker in Child Welfare.  My calling has been the older children who I’ve worked with the majority of my career and extensively the last three or four years.  What an honor, privilege and a challenge to work with and serve this population on a daily basis.   The Treehouse programs have truly been instrumental in supporting our children and youth in foster care not only in King County but throughout Washington State.


The Treehouse Wearhouse program has been a blessing to many children who are placed in King County, and to numerous children and youth on my caseload.  There have been several occasions where I’ve moved kids from one place to another, and for whatever reason they did not have clothes or even a blanket to take with them.  The Wearhouse was able to help many of these kids by providing them with clothing, school supplies and winter coats.

The Treehouse Little Wishes and camp programs have enabled numerous children on my caseload the ability to take music lessons and or attend a summer camp. This past summer, the Treehouse camp program enabled six of the children on my caseload to attend a summer camp of their choice, which not only gave each of the children’s caregivers a much needed break, but also helped each of these children to make a much needed good memory.

The majority of the foster youth that I serve are 15 years and older and as a result of their numerous home and school placements they have missed so many steps, areas and aspects of their educational journey and learning experience.  This coupled with a lack of stability and sometimes an ever changing support system, has made it a significant challenge for the majority of them.  However, with the help, assistance and presence of the Treehouse Educational Advocates and Educational Specialists, many of these youth now have a better understanding of what it takes to be successful.  With Treehouse, they have access to a caring and dedicated professional who is always in their corner, who they can trust and in some cases lean on.   During the last several years I’ve been so impressed with the way the Advocates and Specialists are able to come alongside these youth showing them a genuine concern for not only their educational success but also their personal situation and future endeavors.  This is true for not only the King County Treehouse Educational Advocates and Specialists, but also for youth with Treehouse Advocates throughout the State.

At the present time I have three young men who are seniors in high school and they would not be as far along as they are if they had not had the help, guidance and support of an Educational Advocate or Specialist.  The impact of Treehouse’s support is also evident in the success of two of my youth who are 9th graders this year. These kids have had many years of struggles in school, but they have been able to turn the corner this year and recognize the value in continuing their education.  Finally, the Treehouse Educational Advocate Program has been responsible for the positive gains made by three of my junior high youth who have had years of behavior problems, multiple caregivers and school placements.  The Treehouse education program is truly an invaluable asset and helps us guide our youth in foster care to future success.

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About the Author

As a dedicated Social  Worker at the Washington Department of Children’s Administration for more than ten years, Lonnie Carlson, MSW, is dedicated to ensuring the safety, permanence and well-being of our community’s youth in foster care.  He partners with Treehouse to ensure that the foster youth on his caseload have access to the essentials, including material goods, funding for extra-curricular activities, and academic support to help them succeed in school.

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