Imagine a child who has experienced homelessness and who has had to change schools multiple times due to moving between foster homes, shelters, and the street. Oftentimes a young person like this becomes involved with multiple government agencies, like the Department of Child Welfare, the Department of Juvenile Justice, or the Department of Health, because the work that each of these agencies does tends to be narrowly focused on a solving a specific set of problems. Some agencies aim to keep children safe from abuse and neglect, others seek to rehabilitate youth who have committed crimes, and yet others try to prevent and treat illness and disease.
While each sector can implement its own solutions that may work some of the time for some young people, sustainable social change requires government agencies to collaborate.
But at which level of government (e.g., local, county, state, or federal) should we direct our efforts? The answer lies in the type of change we hope to create. Continue reading
Millions of students every year experience homelessness, a foster care placement, an incarceration, or an unmet mental or physical health need. And while the organizations and individuals that serve these youth act with the best intentions, existing technologies and practices result in fragmentation and poor communication among the adults working with a given young person. Different agencies may only be aware of particular aspects of a student’s life: one agency may know about a student’s health history while another knows about their past foster care placements.
There is hope, however: a number of districts and states have begun to innovate and design technological solutions to resolve the issue of agency fragmentation.
DC Foster Kids App home page
In Washington, D.C., the Child and Family Services Agency has developed the DC Foster Kids App, which grants foster parents and provider agencies access
to important information about their youth in care through a web-based application. The application includes medical contact information, important dates such as court hearings, and licensing and training requirements for the foster parent. Easy access to information allows the student and the adults in their lives to remain aware of milestones and data to best serve youth.