Connect Our Kids 

  • Connect Our Kids is a non-profit focused on using technology tools to improve foster care outcomes.
  • While we have many exciting ideas about potential areas of the foster care system that can be improved, we are initially focused on one area in particular: that of foster youth at risk of aging out of the system without a permanent supportive family.
  • In the U.S., we age out about 20,000 youth from foster care each year.
    • These youth are at high risk for failure as young adults: by age 26, two-thirds have been homeless, incarcerated, or are dead. This number climbs even higher if we include those who are woefully undereducated, unemployed, victims of violent crimes.
    • Young women who age out of foster care are at great risk of giving birth before they are able to take care of a child, thus creating the next generation of foster children.
  • This is not only a human tragedy—but it is also bad governance.
    • Long-term foster care is one of the most expensive approaches to the very wicked problem of how to raise children whose parents can’t raise them.
    • $9 billion of public money is spent annually in direct foster care payments. Additional costs of Medicaid and other subsidized benefits are not included in that number. The cost of addressing trauma induced by the system surely raises the medical costs even higher.
    • Estimates of the indirect cost to citizens over a lifetime of public assistance, incarceration, and lost earnings are in the range of $500,000 per youth who ages out of foster care without a permanent, supportive family.
  • There is an approach that has seen substantial success at finding permanent supportive families for teens in foster care. It focuses on finding a large number of people who already have a connection to the youth—this is called child-focused recruiting, or family finding.
    • Finding extended biological family members is usually the greatest source of connections—even if these family members didn’t know the child existed, they still have a connection to them, and the clan-based nature of humans causes this connection to matter.
    • Statistically, if about 150 of these connections can be found, the rate of success at finding a permanent family triples—from 25% through traditional methods, to about 75%.
  • But the approach is only used in a few places, and is currently very resource intensive:
    • One group that conducts this work in St. Louis was able to serve about 70 youth in their first year of operation—while 100,000 foster children await adoption each year and 20,000 age-out while waiting.
  • This is where Connect Our Kids comes in.
    • Our two co-founders are a nuclear engineer Army veteran, and a former foster child turned marketing and fundraising professional. They put their thoughts together and decided America could do better—by bringing the technology revolution to foster care.
  • Our first target is to scale up family recruitment approach. We are developing a cloud-based intelligent platform to facilitate the child-focused family finding process, using automated data-mining, web searching, and proactive software interaction.
    • This platform will deliver a user experience similar to Ancestry.com – an intuitive, engaging interface, but tailored to foster youth family recruitment.
    • It will both ingest data and also assist the user to manage and use that data more effectively and efficiently.
    • Data may come from any sources (voter rolls, courthouse records, Facebook, LinkedIn, LexisNexis Search).
    • The intelligent platform makes data come alive, into a drag-and-drop, clickable format, vs. the current MS Word, Excel, and passive genogram (family tree) tools that are currently being used.
    • The software will work proactively with the user to offer up potential connections and links, leveraging technology concepts originally designed for the intelligence field to find needles in haystacks and connect the dots between people for national security issues.
  • We are currently designing our prototype for this system.
    • We have incorporated user input from specialists at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, as well as numerous county-level child welfare professionals.
    • We are partnering with technology professionals from the East Coast to Silicon Valley.
  • We need your support! We intend to change the foster care experience in this country, but we need your help to do it. We are continuously seeking additional partnerships and advisors and we also need funding to create this amazing and impactful change.
  • Learn more at www.connectourkids.org. Or connect with one of our co-founders: Jennifer@connectourkids.org, or Jessica@connectourkids.org.

Connect Our Kid and Their Campaign: Give BIG America™

  • Give BIG America™ is a nationwide campaign to raise money and awareness.
  • The campaign is designed to make a BIG impact across the country on Nov. 28th
  • America is spending $9 Billion a year on a broken foster care system. We can’t ask for much more, so we are asking everyone to chip in $6 to help pay for development of the advanced technology that will dramatically improve the family recruitment process. If we all give a little, collectively we can make a big difference.
  • Who are our partners? And why do we have them? Once we reached out for sponsorships, people wanted to send clothes, shoes, back packs, computer, etc, So we partnered with 6 trusted partners who work directly with foster children.
  • In an effort to give over 4,000 foster kids a happy Christmas, we are asking America to send in-kind donations to our 6 partner organizations.
  • There are 25 Ambassadors across the country who are raising money and awareness.

Connect Our Kids Ambassador

Connect Our Kids Ambassador

Connect Our Kids Co-Founder

Connect Our Kids Advisor

Connect Our Kids Advisor

Connect Our Kids Advisor

Connect Our Kids Advisor

Connect Our Kids Advisor