New York City is Building Apps to Certify Foster Parents and Help Youth in Crisis

New York City is hoping that development of better application technology can help the child welfare system quickly certify foster parents, allow those parents to communicate with each other, and provide round-the-clock assistance to foster youths.

The New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) will wrap up a public request for information round this week, in which three separate requests called for recommendations on the construction of new mobile apps.

The idea for the apps stems from the 2016 “hackathon” held by ACS in 2016 to help foster ideas on technology strategies that could improve the child welfare system. The agency described the three new potential apps in an email obtained by The Chronicle of Social Change:

Foster Parent Certification Application: An application to support the foster/adoptive parent certification and re-certification approval process. Ideally, this app would permit candidates to create a user account and upload required forms and documents securely.

Foster Parent Communication Platform: A virtual forum that connects foster parents to one another, increases peer to peer support, reduces isolation and supports high quality caregiving for children and youth. A private national version of this model, Oasis, exists as a limited-membership online center for adoptive parents.

Foster Youth Help: A mobile and online platform for older youth in foster care to access immediate crisis supports, staffed by “adults who stand ready to help.”

The requests, which were issued in late July, expired on Friday, Aug. 17. Click here to access the requests for information with more details on the specifications ACS is seeking for each application.

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