Family Law

How Technology Is Changing the Foster Care System for the Better

Key Takeaways

  • Technology makes matching children in the foster care system with parents much more effortless.
  • This has proven helpful in finding compatibility between pairings and a better success rate of matches or adoptions.
  • Unlike the traditional way of using some information and meetings with the parents and child, algorithms use available data to make matches.

Like most other institutions, the foster care system relies increasingly on technology. Technology is making foster care services more efficient and effective. New information systems and new ways of transmitting information are making the sharing of information among and between foster care systems in different jurisdictions much more effective. AI and sophisticated algorithms promise to improve permanency rates as adoption possibilities for children in the foster care system grow.

This article discusses some of the ways that technology is changing the foster care system. If you have specific questions about the foster care system where you live, contact an experienced family law attorney.

Document Management

One significant role that technology has played is document management and data storage in the cloud. This versatile online storage allows agencies to recall foster care system information quickly and easily.

This improved document management can benefit children in the foster care system (and your rights as a foster parent) by keeping accurate and accessible records.

Algorithmic Pairing

Algorithmic pairing is an online program that matches foster children in the foster care system with compatible foster parents, foster families, and, potentially, adoptive families. This has proven helpful in finding compatibility between pairings and a better success rate of matches or adoptions. Unlike the traditional way of using some information and meetings with the parents and child, algorithms use extensive data to make matches.

Apps and Online Resources

Technology is making matching children in the foster care system with their parents much easier. It saves caseworkers time and effort, allowing them to focus more on the children and their needs.

A growing number of apps and online resources are intended to help those in the foster care system, such as the U.S. Department of Education Foster Care Transition Toolkit.

Social media apps help health and human services organizations, caseworkers, and social workers transmit messages and build community.

Many apps foster communication and support groups for birth parents striving for reunification with their foster children. Additionally, former foster youth can stay engaged with foster homes and current foster youth.

Laptops make information more readily available for on-site caseworkers, case management personnel, health care providers, and social workers. They can receive data and updates in real time.

The Comprehensive Child Welfare Information Systems (CCWIS) Regulations

The CCWIS initiative was implemented in 2015 to allow child welfare agencies to use technology and systems in the manner that works best for them. As of now, using this system is optional for each state.

The hope is that the system increases child abuse prevention and decreases foster care abuse. The regulations help:

  • Lower costs of maintaining records and record-keeping.
  • Customize systems for specific needs (such as tracking foster youth mental or behavioral health needs).
  • Partner more closely with insurance companies, schools, and other agencies.
  • Report specific information to federal agencies.

It compares to the previous Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS) in a few key ways:

  • Both collect and report data to agencies, other states, and federal agencies.
  • Both send information to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS).
  • Both report to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS).

ACYF-GSA Partnership

The Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) partners with the General Services Administration (GSA) to create new federal programs. Cooperation and the latest technology make these new programs more efficient.

These programs support:

  • Social services.
  • Positive youth experiences.
  • Positive family development.
  • Protective services.
  • Shelter for at-risk minors.
  • Homelessness prevention programs.
  • Preventing child abuse and neglect.
  • Safety of families and minors.

Protect Your Rights When Working With the Foster Care System

As technology, information, and the foster system change, ensure your rights and privacy are protected. There are attorneys who focus on:

  • Adoption and foster care.
  • Data privacy and technology.
  • Criminal charges like child abuse and neglect.

No matter your questions, you can find the right attorney to help you understand your situation, provide legal advice, develop a strategy for navigating adoption, and watch out for your best interests.

Was this helpful?

At LawInfo, we know legal issues can be stressful and confusing. We are committed to providing you with reliable legal information in a way that is easy to understand. Our pages are written by legal writers and reviewed by legal experts. We strive to present information in a neutral and unbiased way, so that you can make informed decisions based on your legal circumstances.