Where we began.
We designed the first six months of The Lab as a pilot, or an alpha. We wanted to see what would happen if we embodied a continuous improve mindset and shared it with the foster parent community. Could we slowly spread the word about a different way of doing things?
Phase One Overview
We built user stories, ran experiments, analyzed data, and retrospected repeatedly. You can download a PDF of our findings using the link below. Some highlights:
We built a pool of foster parents who completed regular surveys in order to give us a foundation of data. They killed it and we are grateful for their efforts.
We walked away with seven Key Learnings, such as the fact that there are large gaps in how hearings and Health and Safety visits are happening.
- These Key Learnings are not the end of the story, since we believe that insights should create more questions. Better questions.
One of our main takeaways from Phase One is driving our vision for Phase Two - which is to create sparks of hope within an exhausted system.
A Review: User Stories
Visitation Scheduling & Communication
Foster child visitation with biological parents is an important and complex part of foster care. In this user story, we focus on improving scheduling communications with foster parents.
Frequently listed as one of the most frustrating parts of the job, improvements in visitation communication will go a long way in reducing feelings of foster parent disrespect.
Delivery of Caregiver Reports to the Court
Caregiver reports to the court are one of the few ways that foster parents can advocate for the children in their care. The reports are a manual process however, and delivery requires the foster parent to email the report to a social worker, who will then pass it along to the judge.
Considering the current workload of social workers, it's no surprise that foster parents rarely know if this report is delivered. Creating better systems to confirm delivery will go a long way in reducing foster parent feelings of voicelessness.
Access to State-Funded Childcare
Anyone with children in daycare or after-school care knows that it can be very difficult to find openings. The options are even fewer when looking for providers that accept payment from the state.
Foster parents, who frequently have children coming and going, must manually call through a provider list when seeking childcare for a new placement. This process can be slow and frustrating for parents who are juggling all of the other appointments and responsibilities that come with a new placement. An easier process would go a long way in helping foster parents feel like they have the resources they need.