Foster Care Goes High Tech

Two hundred tech professionals, child welfare leaders, government officials and foster youth came together at Los Angeles’ “Silicon Beach” to explore technology as a solution for some of the toughest issues facing LA County’s foster care system.

“With your ideas and your fresh perspectives, we can continue to refine the role of technology in helping to transform the lives of some of our most vulnerable young people,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas at this year’s hackathon at Fullscreen in Playa Vista.

#HackFosterCare +1 comes a year after a two-day event that brought together tech groups and resulted in nine projects targeting the County’s most vexing child welfare issues. This includes recruiting more foster parents, ensuring school stability for students in foster care, and managing the enormous task of administering visits for foster children and their biological families.

“The interaction between the local tech sector and the LA County foster care community has generated significant strategies for addressing foster care issues,” said Bobby Cagle, director of the County’s Department of Children and Familiy Services, the biggest foster care system in the nation. “We are extremely grateful to the LA County Board of Supervisors, the Pritzker Foster Care Initiative and Fullscreen for continuing to move the dialogue forward building on last year’s successes.”

Highlighted projects included:

  • Using Technology to Recruit and Develop Resource Families
  • Time2Connect: A Technological Solution for Scheduling & Managing Visitation
  • Harnessing Digital Media to Improve Foster Parent Recruitment & Retention
  • Disrupting Tech: Diversifying the Hiring Pool
  • FosterCode: Building Tech Skills for Foster Youth
  • Using Open Data to Improve Foster Care
  • Fast & Furious 9: Driving Toward Youth Outcomes Using Machine Learning Algorithms
  • Mentor2Mentor: A Youth Entrepreneurship Initiative by ScaleLA to Address Youth Homelessness
  • HopSkipDrive: Ride Sharing to Promote School Stability for Foster Youth

This latest event comes after a series of similarly themed foster care Hackathons at the White House, in New York City, Silicon Valley and the HackFosterCareLA kickoff event last year.