On Thursday, May 26, the White House capped off May as National Foster Care Month with a two-day “White House and Foster Care and Technology Hackathon.” The event sought to bring together child welfare leaders, organizations, families and foster alumni into a meeting with engineers and leaders from the technology sector.
As part of the event the White House announced several initiatives both public and private including these government related initiatives:
Comprehensive Child Welfare Information Systems (CCWIS) Final Rule: This new rule covers vital state information systems that provide national and local level data on state foster care and adoption information systems. It is the first revision in 23 years. It is hoped that the new regulation will improve the flexibility that has been lacking in regard to how states update and use those systems. HHS says that the new CCWIS regulations will modernize current requirements and give states needed flexibility.
Education Foster Care Transition Toolkit, the Department of Education has released a “toolkit” or 66-page report for foster youth transitioning out of care that includes a number of resources and tips to help foster youth access and navigate social, emotional, educational, skills and resource barriers as they transition into adulthood. The document is also intended to assist caseworkers, caregivers, teachers and mentors helping foster youth with the education goals. The Foster Care Transition Toolkit was crafted in partnership between HHS, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Labor.
The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration has launched GetMyFuture.org, a mobile-friendly web-app within the Career One Stop website for youth to plan careers, explore education and training options and search and apply for jobs. Get My Future provides youth with online tools, information and resources to help find a job. The site features a streamlined interest assessment and occupational profile to help young people see what careers are a good fit for them along with wage information, skill and education requirements and an indicator of whether or not there will be jobs available in that sector. It also provides resources for young people meet challenges resulting from foster care, juvenile justice systems, homelessness, addiction, or a lack of financial, family, or community resources.
HHS and the General Services Administration (GSA) Partnership to Build Technology Systems have teamed up to provide $1 million worth of consulting services to states as they procure new/updated child welfare data systems. Through this new partnership, GSA will provide in-depth training and assistance on modular procurements, user-centered design, agile development, application programming interfaces and open source technologies for child welfare agencies across the country.