After reading many online articles about successful foster care and talking to child welfare social workers, it was clear that families where the biological parent was involved in raising her child during foster care led to a faster and more successful reunification process. We wanted to make that type of relationship more accessible to all parties involved.
What it does
Paired Parenting connects biological parents directly to foster parents in a secure, permission-based manner that allows each biological parent to communicate with the foster families, set up events that encourage bonding and parent-skill building, and build their child's "profile" (routines, hobbies, etc) together.
How We built it
Building out the narrative was key for us understanding the nuances of what we were building. We created a complicated family structure that involved multiple birth parents and multiple foster families so as to consider all of the constraints this application would have in order to be realistically successful for families.
Once we understood the players, we created scenes to narrate certain functions we wanted to highlight in our presentation. Rather than building out every function, we spent time creating key screens to demo parts of each feature that would highlight their impact as a whole.
Challenges We ran into
None of us have been in this situation either as a biological parent or foster parent, so we really had to rely on interviews. The attendees of the Hackathon were really helpful from a social worker perspective and gave that secondary source. However, we'd really would have loved to have had that primary resource to really understand what biological parents are feeling and thinking during this time period.
Accomplishments that We're proud of
This project was really easy to brainstorm hundreds of other ideas that would make the biological parent even more successful. We were really good at noting those great ideas down, yet continuing to keep the scope down to what we could really do in the time given.
We're also really fond of our Acts and Scenes as a way to structure the users' journeys through the narrative.
What We learned
We learned that it is better to build out a strong presentation than a full fledged system using user-authentication.
We also learned a lot about how to tell our story, having had to tell it so many times. It is easy for folks within the foster system (social workers, etc) to instantly worry about privacy, permissions, and fears concerning this direct line of communication.
What's next for Paired Parenting
We would really like to build out the rest of the functionality to make this a fully fleshed out way for biological and foster parents to work with each other.
Some things we didn't demo / mock up that would need to be fleshed out before going live:
- Creating a family (social worker)
- Changing foster parents
- Foster parent extending an invite
- Foster parents accepting proposed visit