Finding a permanent home for every child in foster care

By Team Cardinality

May 21, 2021

Every child deserves a permanent home. This seems to be an intuitive belief, but according to the current federal numbers, there are around 420,000 children in the foster care system. As ambitious as this goal sounds, the data says it is possible.

What exactly is “permanency?”

The availability of foster parents to care for children in need has not kept pace with the demand. Around 125,000 children were waiting to be adopted in late 2018. Most children spend an average of 2-5 years in foster care before being adopted. Some never do: nearly 20,000 age out of foster care without being adopted.

(Source: The White House )

Permanency in the context of child welfare is a permanent and secure home. Beyond this, there should be a legal backbone to this permanent relationship, such as a parent-child or guardian legal status. As finding a permanent home is widely understood to be the goal of the child welfare system, there have been recent attempts to solidify this goal as a legal requirement, such as Congress’s Preventing Sex Trafficking And Strenghtening Families Act of 2014. This act not only reaffirms the goal of permanency for at-risk youth, but it requires state governments and agencies to take concrete steps in their case management process to reach this goal.

What can caseworkers do to achieve this?

First and foremost, caseworkers should be permanency-driven, that is, looking for the strongest and most secure bonds for their cases. In order to do this, caseworkers need to have the latest and most accurate data at their fingertips. They need to be in constant communication with potential families in order to collect as much input as possible. However, this cannot always be achieved so easily, as caseworkers could potentially have many cases they are working on at once, or perhaps their data is not in an easily accessible location.

How technology can help

There are few, key areas where technology can improve efficiency and help caseworkers get closer to their goal of permanency.

  1. Different data types: Not all cases are the same, and throughout the life of a case, caseworkers will amass vast amounts of information from interviews, discussions, or forms and applications. With the help of Cardinality’s Child Welfare Platform, all this data, be it audio or text, can be automatically transcribed, indexed, and integrated into the case file.
  2. Keeping track of multiple cases: With multiple cases demanding the care and concern of caseworkers, it can be hard to keep track of all the specifics. Cardinality’s comprehensive case management system can help capture the whole picture, including all relevant information, automatic assessments, and workflows.
  3. Being compliance-ready: Finally, in working toward the ultimate goal of permanency, it can be hard to assess all the information and check it against state regulations. Cardinality can utilize artificial intelligence and pre-placement assessments to automatically determine which families and homes can provide the most secure and beneficial environments.

Cardinality equips both agency employees and caregivers with better systems to communicate about the children in their care. Legacy technology and paper-based solutions cannot scale and lack the web and mobile options that foster parents prefer for managing their communications with the agency.

In the spirit of National Foster Care Month, Cardinality is committed to promoting every child’s right to a permanent home. Write to us to know how we can help your State.