Old photos, school reports, medical reports, and family histories. For many of us, these are things we take for granted. But for the over 40,000 children in foster care in Australia, these things may have long been lost to them.
Frequent changes in out-of-home care placements and caseworkers are all part and parcel of life for children raised in foster care in Australia and around the world. Many go through multiple placements, with some experiencing up to 15 moves or changes in carers. With each transition, keepsakes, documents and along with them, a precious part of the child’s memories and identity, inevitably go missing.
Barnardos Australia, one of the largest child protection organizations in Australia, has designed and developed a digital memory box to help children raised in foster care preserve their life stories in the cloud. This feature is part of the nonprofit’s new child case management system, developed in collaboration with software developer and Microsoft Gold Partner Readify.
The application, MyStory, helps record life histories and memories by capturing key events, images and records during their time in care, giving caseworkers more time to spend with their beneficiaries, instead of administrative work.
The information will initially be uploaded by caseworkers, but children will eventually get permission-based access to the MyStory platform to view their life histories, important information and memories. With all files stored on the Azure cloud, children will be able to access them any time throughout their lives—without any worries about the security and privacy of the sensitive information being compromised.
MyStory also helps Barnardos capture and store vital case information in one central location real-time. This enables better internal information sharing, something the nonprofit had previously struggled with when using disparate software solutions for their wide range of client services. The single, integrated solution streamlines its operations and simplifies the user experience, improving collaboration and enabling greater accuracy in reporting.
With the new child case management platform, caseworkers can now easily search for a child’s casefile, and view his or her records and history in a visual, easy-to-understand format. The cloud-based platform also supports easy sharing and editing of information from both the office and in the field, ensuring that casefiles are always kept updated.
As such, caseworkers always have the latest, most comprehensive set of information wherever they are. This is further complemented with best practices available within the MyStory app, which supports caseworkers in the field and guides them in their practice.
The reporting, monitoring and recording functions of MyStory also allow Barnardos to contribute to longitudinal studies, and meet statutory reporting, national standards and legislative requirements relating to the work they do with children in out-of-home care.
“With MyStory and the cloud, a child’s life story is captured in a single location with greater detail and information accuracy. This helps us improve our decision-making, resulting in better outcomes for our beneficiaries,” said Wendi Keenan, General Manager Operational Support, Barnardos Australia. “And for these children and young people in out-of-home care, it will help them preserve their sense of identity and belonging.“