Austin (KXAN) — A Central-Texas-based nonprofit has launched a mobile app aimed to reduce the volume of paperwork and documentation required for foster parents to keep up. This is in an effort to reduce the rate at which foster parents and case workers leave the system.
The Miracle Foundation officially launched its FosterShare app this month. Leslie Beasley, the CEO, said research and development on the app started two years ago.
In this time, she said one of the largest grievances discovered among foster parents and case workers was difficulty keeping track of the numerous documents required for the system.
She said the app was a “one-stop-shop” of sorts for its users. It tracks and documents everything from daily behavior logs to medication log records through a singular interface.
Beasley said the app has been piloted in Texas and is now in more than 100 foster agencies. She also said 5 other states have expressed interest in using it as well.
“What we discovered is: the system is severely stressed and there’s a high volume of paperwork and documentation to maintain. The work is complicated with too little support and too little time. These are the challenges that we solve for, with FosterShare,” Beasley said.
Beasley said the overall goal of the app is to make life easier for foster parents and reduce trauma for foster children as they move through the system.
“Children move an average of seven times. That means seven new sets of strangers, it means seven new beds, it means seven new types of food, seven new schools. It is incredibly traumatizing for a kid to keep moving,” Beasley said.
Leander’s foster parent Caroline Mendl took in her first foster child earlier this year and also uses FosterShare.
Medl says she was mentally prepared by her foster-parent classes to take on the task of filling out and keeping up with her foster child’s records.
“I was ‘ah!’ keeping track of all these people, who I need to send and what was a little challenging,” Mendl said.
After using the app, Mendl says more time to focus on what’s really important.
“We’re really just trying to show up every day for these kids,” Mendl said.