Re-imagining Foster Care

June 3, 2019
Jennifer Jacobs, CEO of Connect Our Kids
We at Connect Our Kids see the practice of social work as one of the most impactful — and at the same time challenging — careers. Connect Our Kids salutes every child welfare professional—especially social workers, CASA volunteers, and family recruiters who work directly with foster children. We are deploying modern technology that will empower these professionals to quickly identify permanent families and mentors for children in their care.

That is why we are working to improve foster care outcomes by collaborating at the intersection of child welfare and innovative technology. Our Family Connections tool takes an existing, successful approach to finding families for foster kids and scales it up. And to make things even more exciting, we are giving family recruiters, CASA volunteers, and social workers access to this technology — free of charge.

Children are brought into the government’s custody for various reasons, oftentimes in an effort to protect the child from abuse and neglect. As these children move through the system they often meet different child welfare professionals. We believe these professionals should have a snapshot at the entire family tree before they even step into the home and remove a child from their parent(s).

This is reversing the current process, which often causes the social workers to react to a child’s situation rather than proactively place a child with a stable family member or someone with a close connection to the child (neighbors or friends).

We believe social workers should focus on what they do best:

  • Help heal trauma.
  • Teach families how to communicate more effectively.
  • Connect those living in poverty to resources like shelter, food, education, mental health care, and physical health clinics, as well as drug addiction counseling.

Social Workers spend years getting educational degrees required to help council families, with a minimum education requirement of a Bachelor of Social Work, where many of them obtained a Master of Social Work to work in the foster care system.

Our society will continue to suffer if we do not heal family traumas and create stable family support systems.

By removing the barriers child welfare professionals face while placing kids in proper homes, they will be able to apply a laser focus on trauma care and family counseling to help these families better communicate and cope with the urgent situations at hand.

Our goal is to allow social workers to do what they do best — social work.

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