It’s the time of the year when we all reflect on what’s happened in the last 12 months – what have we accomplished and what more can be done? At Partners for Our Children, it feels like we’ve been sprinting a marathon this year with all of the fun, exciting projects we’re taking on. We are moving quickly on so many fronts, but for many of our projects, we still have a long way to go.
Two of our biggest undertakings this year have been addressing the need for a new data solution for service providers within the child welfare system and the creation of STRIVE, an open source parenting program. We believe both can make a significant impact on the lives of vulnerable children and families. More to come on both!
But these projects are only the tip of the iceberg, so we did a little round-up of the blog to capture some of the highlights of our year:
- Our Data Portal turned one and we also made significant improvements to the Data Portal, so users can better understand how to find the information they are looking for.
- We advocated for important legislation in Washington state that will improve the lives of many children in our state. One change we are particularly excited about is the “prudent parent standard” – meaning that foster parents now have the authority to allow children in their care to participate in normal childhood activities like a field trip or weekend camping getaway as long as the decision is based on a reasonable and prudent parent standard.
- A few amazing POC staff members were honored with various nominations and awards.
- We made progress on an exciting new program that will help foster teens better connect with their foster parents – and forming a better bond may help teens avoid risky behaviors!
- Pulling from our own expertise or from our partners, we weighed in on a few hot topics, including the increased minimum wage and the “urgent humanitarian situation” involving thousands of children fleeing Central America.
- Our data team analyzed a few interesting areas of the system, including how far children move from family home to foster home, and when do reports of child maltreatment come in?
- We explored a new data set – the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) – to see how each state is preparing young adults who age out of foster care for adulthood. To date, this was our most popular blog post, so we hope to post a follow-up in the coming months.
- In partnership with DSHS Children’s Administration, we hosted the 2nd Annual Child Welfare Trends Forum – we had a great turnout with nearly 120 in attendance!
So it’s been an eventful 2014, and we look forward to what 2015 will bring! Please be sure to follow along by signing up to receive blog posts via email.