Let's drive change - together.
What exactly do we mean by "run experiments?"
Great question. The user stories all highlight one particular source of pain for foster parents. We want you, all of you, to sit down and brainstorm all of the different ways that the problem could be solved. Each problem is simple, but approaches could come from a wide variety of directions.
If you come up with an idea that has some promise, start to figure out if you can make it happen. Send it to us, we are happy to help you work out some of the details.
To be clear, The Lab will not be running any experiments. That will come from you. But we are 100% behind you and offering support, encouragement, and connection to resources.
Remember that an overarching goal is to retain safe, capable, healthy foster homes. Perhaps you can't completely fix the problem, but how could you improve the foster family's experience in the midst of it?
Need Some Inspiration?
High Five: Whirlpool
After learning that many students in a low-income school were skipping class because they didn't have access to clean clothes, Whirlpool experimented with putting washing machines in schools. The result? 93% of program participants increased attendance.
High Five: FIN
Parent/child visitation is logistically difficult and expensive. In an effort to decrease both no-shows and the overall cost of visitation, the Family Impact Network experimented with using Uber to get parents to visits. The result? Cancellation rates declined by 25%.
Like any good adventure, we need to set some ground rules:
- The confidentiality of children in care, their biological families, social workers, or other team members is not to be breached. Items like caregiver reports include confidential information. Do not design an experiment that will give you or anyone else access to sensitive information.
- Any experiment that starts with "the social worker just needs to" should be reconsidered. Social workers have an incredibly hard job and their caseloads are overwhelming. Unless you are a social worker, please do not volunteer them for any extra work.
- Results will be shared publicly, even (especially) if the experiment "fails." Failure is the best way to learn and we want to learn together. If your hypothesis is a complete bust, great, that will help to better define the next hypothesis. At the end of the experiment cycle, we will do an online retrospective and share the learnings with everyone.
- Let's have some fun. Seriously. Foster care is so hard for everyone involved. If we can infuse a sense of lightness, creativity, and humor into the hard parts, then life will feel just a little bit better.