One step at a time.
If we were going to move a woodpile, we would need to start with one log at a time. In much the same way, we are going to address the challenges within the foster care system one step at a time. Are there some huge, sticky problems facing the system? Absolutely. Are we going to start there? Not a chance.
Instead, we are focusing in on the core goal of retaining capable, safe, and healthy foster families. Every child in out-of-home care deserves to stay with a great family, but great families are having a harder and harder time staying in the system. To start, we are going to try and tackle three specific issues that are routinely listed as the proverbial "straw that breaks the camel's back."
These three issues will have a direct impact on the disrespectful treatment, feelings of voicelessness, and lack of resources that make it so hard to be a foster family.
User Story Format
A core component of agile software development, user stories help to make a problem specific and actionable, without being prescriptive. We don't want to tell you how to fix the problem, we just want to help everyone understand what the problem is.
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.