Scott Hanselman

White House Visit - Foster Care and Technology Hackathon

May 25, 2016 Comment on this post [20] Posted in
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Going to the White HouseHey friends! I am so proud to be a technology advisor for the the White House Foster Care and Technology Hackathon this week!

While I'm participating in this event and advising as a private citizen, there is a Microsoft team. Here is a brief statement about the Microsoft team's involvement in this cause:

The Microsoft team is honored and excited to participate in this year’s White House Foster Care and Technology Hackathon on May 26th-May 27th. It is a wonderful opportunity for top technical talent across different industries to work together in collaboration with the White House, the Dept of Health and Human Services, Annie E. Casey Foundation, and Think of Us, with the goal of improving the US foster care system and outcomes for children and families who experience care.

The hackathon participants are tackling the biggest problems in the foster care system including topics such as empowering foster youth and alum with decision-making abilities, getting more innovative technology into child welfare agencies, and preventing homelessness and unplanned pregnancy for youth.

Another huge area of concern in the foster care system is that of substance exposed infants and children. Each year, nearly 440,000 infants are affected by prenatal alcohol or illicit drug exposure. Oftentimes, the mothers of these children who are battling substance abuse struggle with seeking care and treatment for themselves and the children. Many of these mothers are young and do not have the support system that they need to get advice and help to both overcome their additions, and take care for their children. Even if they have the inclination to get help, where do they start? And how can they do this without being stigmatized?
The Microsoft hacking team is looking to create a streamlined process by which mothers can access the resources they need, and easily ask for help.

Mothers with addiction problems often struggle to keep their addiction and pregnancy secret, and are therefore hesitant to seek the help they and their children so desperately need. The solution must take this sensitivity into account. Locating relevant information about available resources is another problem. It must aggregate resources into a single place that is simple and easy to use but also non-judgmental.

The team seeks to create a marketplace for social services that will be useful to the mothers in need. Rather than solely aggregate data, the marketplace will include a recommendation system based on the anonymous inputs of the users’ needs, backed by a rating system that is commonly seen online. Influenced by the ratings systems of websites like Yelp, the team seeks to create an atmosphere that younger generations are used to by allowing them to anonymously rate the services they used, and benefit from the feedback of others.

The team is made up of Program Manager, Yossi Banai, along with technologists Paul DeCarlo, Mostafa Elzoghbi, Stacey Mulcahy, Heather Shapiro and tech advisor Scott Hanselman. Several members of the team have been personally touched or affected by the problem of pregnant and parenting mothers dealing with substance abuse and are passionate about improving the current situation for struggling mothers and their children. They will continue their efforts after the hackathon by maintaining the resources and programs created.

I'll take as many photos and instagrams as I'm allowed. Many thanks to Sixto Cancel from Think of Us, Kishau Rogers, and Vida Williams for including me on this project. I'll be speaking on Thursday along with a room full of amazing folks across the Child Welfare System and the Administration.

I'm excited to meet all the teams including the folks from StackOverflow, Slack, Clef, Uber, Twillio, Prek12Plaza, and more!

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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May 25, 2016 3:54
Congrats Scott! That's a major achievement and I hope you enjoy this event.
May 25, 2016 5:25
Very cool. Looking forward to seeing the great things that come out of this!
May 25, 2016 7:28
That is an awesome thing. If I can help with a follow-on activity after you get back, please feel free to reach out to me.
May 25, 2016 12:33
Well done Scott and well deserved. A great example on how technology can help to improve real world issues
May 25, 2016 15:30
They couldn't get anyone better, for sure. Congratulations.
May 25, 2016 20:20
That's great! Our foster system needs help simply because the challenges are so great. I'm a foster parent and these kids come so broken, but the hope is that with the right kind of support at the right time, we can keep these unwanted pregnancies from happening and keep these kids (who turn into adults) out of jail.

Just make a "Minority Report" way to show up when they're going to make a bad choice and tell them to stop. That should be easy, right?
May 25, 2016 21:57
That is so cool.

Can you follow up on your blog with any new services or websites that were created from this? Oh and post those pictures too.

Congratulations, and have fun!
May 26, 2016 0:35
Shouldn't they have signed it "White House" rather than "The White House"? Do you also get letters from "The Microsoft"?

I would be offended, post a rant on the web and wouldn't go. :)
May 26, 2016 4:03
As the parent of two adopted foster kids, I am extremely happy to see this.

I hope you and the hackathon can make a big impact! The system is most definitely broken.
May 26, 2016 18:23
Congratulations Scott. A Well deserved opportunity for you.
May 27, 2016 1:33
This is great! Congratulations and hope you make the best out of this experience.
May 27, 2016 19:10
Congratulations! Do great things, and don't forget to have a blast!
May 31, 2016 17:36
This is fantastic. My husband and I are foster parents and are about to adopt our 4th child of 26 placements. Knowledge of available resources has always been a complaint. There are resources available but so many of them are not communicated to parents or foster parents so we don't even know that the resource exists. I am looking forward to seeing something great come out of this!
June 01, 2016 19:24
Man, what a cool thing! Congrats my dude!
June 06, 2016 3:30
Good on you Scott. I have been working work in this sector only for a short while but have found it very rewarding. It would be interesting to read about what advice you have provided. They couldn't have picked a smarter dude!
June 07, 2016 16:43
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(from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?
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June 10, 2016 0:07
How are you, someone who specifically calls them self a technologist, specifically excluded form the technologist list and instead called a "tech advisor"? Does The White House even listen to Hanselminutes?
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.