Fixing America’s Child Welfare System? There’s an App (and Software) for That

Posted November 30, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Tristan Louis and Sixto Cancel

From left: Tristan Louis and Sixto Cancel

On any given day in America, the nation’s child welfare community tops 440,000 kids, according to the Children’s Bureau’s 2018 AFCARS report. This population — which has grown every year for the last five years — moves through a system that is largely overburdened, inefficient and underfunded.

In a new podcast episode, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Lisa Hamilton interviews two leaders — Casebook PBC President and CEO Tristan Louis and Think of Us Founder and CEO Sixto Cancel — who are working to change this landscape.

Their catalyst of choice? Technology.

In their chat with Hamilton, Louis and Cancel introduce the innovative solutions that their organizations are developing and discuss how these tools can improve outcomes for kids, families and the greater child welfare system.

A huge thank you to Louis and Cancel for talking with us!

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What You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • Shortcomings of the current child welfare system.
  • How Casebook can support child welfare professionals.
  • How Think of Us can support older youth who are in or exiting foster care.
  • How data can drive smarter decision-making.
  • How these tools can support policy improvements.
  • How these tools can benefit kids, families and systems.

Conversation Clips

In Tristan Louis’s own words…

  • “The first thing that we've learned is that there are pretty bad solutions out there that are not meeting [the needs of] caseworkers.”
  • “One of the things that we're pretty good at is creating massive amounts of data. The problem is that that data is not available in a standard fashion and it's not really shared in a standard fashion across the board.”

In Sixto Cancel’s own words…

  • “What we realized is that the smartphone of our field is a piece of software that helps people heal by connecting them with supportive adults who are there for them, who are rewiring that trauma of disconnection.”
  • “When a young person goes onto our platform and creates a goal and they add new folks to that goal to support them, that's new digital behavior and new data that we just don't have in child welfare right now, because we've never really put young people at the center of a tool.”

About the Casey Foundation Podcast

CaseyCast is produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and hosted by its executive vice president and chief program officer, Lisa Hamilton. The series features Hamilton talking with experts about how we can build a brighter future for kids, families and communities.

Enjoy the Episode? We hope so! Go to Apple Podcasts to subscribe to the series or leave a rating or review.

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