#HackFosterCare: Jim Casey Young Fellows Team Up with Tech, Experts

Posted October 29, 2018
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Young people gather around a computer to find innovative solutions through technology.

Young Fel­lows from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Jim Casey Youth Oppor­tu­ni­ties Ini­tia­tive® will par­tic­i­pate this month in Cap­i­tal­hack, a 24-hour hackathon of robust brain­storm­ing to find inno­v­a­tive solu­tions for data sys­tems that affect young peo­ple in fos­ter care. The 12 Young Fel­lows will work along­side state and com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers, child wel­fare experts from Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive sites, Casey staff and vol­un­teer pro­gram­mers from com­pa­nies, includ­ing Microsoft and Tech­In­Care, to build solu­tions that are informed by those who have expe­ri­enced fos­ter care.

A hackathon — an event that cre­ates a marathon” out of soft­ware devel­op­ment — typ­i­cal­ly brings togeth­er pro­gram­mers and coders to devel­op cre­ative tech­nol­o­gy solu­tions to real-world prob­lems. As part of the #Hack­Fos­ter­Care move­ment launched in 2016, Cap­i­tal­hack will explore how com­mu­ni­ties and states might respond to the needs of young peo­ple who are tran­si­tion­ing from fos­ter care to adult­hood. The data on young adults tran­si­tion­ing from fos­ter care housed in these data sys­tems are crit­i­cal to under­stand­ing how young peo­ple are far­ing and to influ­enc­ing pol­i­cy and prac­tice changes to improve the neg­a­tive out­comes expe­ri­enced by them,” says San­dra Wilkie, a Foun­da­tion data and eval­u­a­tion con­sul­tant. The cur­rent capac­i­ty of these sys­tems does not allow us to explore and extract this vital infor­ma­tion fully.”

The hackathon will be held at the Inclu­sive Inno­va­tion Incu­ba­tor, Wash­ing­ton, D.C.’s, first cowork­ing space focused on diver­si­ty and inclu­sion. Host­ing the event are Child Trends, a non­prof­it research orga­ni­za­tion focused on chil­dren, youth and their fam­i­lies, and Think of Us, a non­prof­it found­ed by Jim Casey Ini­tia­tive Young Fel­low Six­to Can­cel that uses tech­nol­o­gy to help youth in fos­ter care tran­si­tion into adulthood.

Teams will draw from each other’s exper­tise to address chal­lenges like cre­at­ing dig­i­tal ver­sions of tools that empow­er youth to advance their lead­er­ship skills, lever­ag­ing video to allow young peo­ple to con­sent to shar­ing their data, and devel­op­ing tools and dash­boards to bet­ter visu­al­ize data.

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