KVC has provided foster care case management services since 1996 when child welfare was privatized in the state of Kansas. In fact, KVC has provided foster care case management longer than any other private organization in the U.S.
Before the advancement of computer technology, the process of matching children with foster/adoptive families was performed manually using paper, spreadsheets and post-it notes. Staff compared a child’s needs with available foster families, and then started making phone calls, hoping to find the right family for each child. As we moved into a new millennium, KVC looked for ways to automate the process to increase safety and efficiency while also creating better matches. This resulted in the development of KVC’s proprietary Matching Families software in 2001, which staff still use today.
Matching Families allows KVC’s Admissions Department to match a child’s specific needs with a foster or adoptive family. Characteristics of the child including age, gender, race, location and school district are entered into the system and queried with the database of available foster/adoptive homes. Using spatial technology, the system generates a contact list of homes within 30 miles of the child that would be a good match, and they are prioritized based on best overall match.
Our goal is to keep children in their current school and close to familiar surroundings. The system also allows case managers to document a child’s interests and hobbies. Many successful matches can been attributed to a child and family having similar interests.
The software also offers extensive information about each foster family home. Once a home is licensed to provide foster care, information regarding the family’s preferences and skills are documented. KVC is then able to know how many children the family wants to support and their ability to care for a child with a mild, moderate or severe level of need. Any contact made with a foster family home is documented and logged in the system.
Updates to the software are made continuously in order to match as many children as possible with safe and loving forever families. “An important feature that was added two years ago is the ability to document, monitor and regulate the medications prescribed to a child,” said Lonnie Johnson, Director of Management Information Systems. “KVC has the ability to oversee the dosage and frequency for each medication, ensuring children are not over-medicated.”
Johnson has received the most positive feedback from the software’s real-time data capabilities. Staff and key organizations can access the system and instantly know where a child is at any time. In certain situations, automatic notifications are sent, updating all parties on a child’s status without needing to access the system.
KVC Admissions staff match an average of 500 children with families every month.
A child can come into state custody at any time, so our Admissions Department works 24/7, 365 days a year, including all holidays. KVC has 28 full and part-time Admissions staff, and they match an average of 500 children with families each month.
At KVC, we work by the mantra that “Children Can’t Wait.” We focus on locating and selecting the best possible family for each child, which has led to an endorsement from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as a best practice organization. Please contact us if you are interested in fostering or adopting a child in Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska or West Virginia.