Redlich Horwitz Foundation Co-hosts New York Hackathon to Unite Foster Youth and Technology
It’s a crisp December day, and the city is bustling. The crowds move slowly, weaving between twinkling lights and ornate window displays, humming with the promise of the upcoming holiday season.
Tucked away from the crowds of Rockefeller Center, inside the eBay New York headquarters in midtown Manhattan, a different type of anticipation buzzed. The individuals gathered in the company’s office were anxious and excited, eager to participate in New York City’s first-ever foster youth hackathon.
The NYC Foster Care Technology and Policy Hackathon was a two-day whirlwind event, bringing together leaders in NYC’s child welfare field, technology sector, government, non-profits and foster youth.
The convening was broken into smaller groups, which faced a two-fold challenge: tackling the NYC foster care system’s most pressing policy concerns and developing innovative tech solutions like smartphone apps, social networking tools and digital resources to improve the delivery of services and resources for those in the children of the system.
Following the first-ever White House Technology and Foster Care Hackathon earlier this year, NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), under the leadership of Commissioner Gladys Carrión, dedicated itself to continue the movement by hosting the first of a series of city hackathons around the country. New York’s event will be followed by a similar foster care and technology summit in Silicon Valley in February, and another in Los Angeles next spring.
“We hope to create a movement where every state does this and wants to get more involved,” said Rafael López, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF). “We need to engage the larger community in looking at us and helping us to support our kids.”
With increased momentum surrounding foster care and technology, ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrión expressed her enthusiasm for the potential of the New York hackathon to lead to future collaborations.
“It’s about delivering what works for those involved in the system, and finding out are there technology solutions for those we serve that we can use?” Carrión said. “What tools are there to make this easier for foster parents, social workers, case workers, foster youth, biological parents?” Carrión admits that bringing the idea of a hackathon for foster care and technology back to New York City was a risk, but “that the risk will yield a lot of positive results.”
Administration for Children’s Services hosted the event in partnership with eBay, Think of Us, the NYC Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation, the Redlich Horwitz Foundation, and New Yorkers for Children...