We are excited to announce that Partners for Our Children recently received a $500,000 grant from the Raikes Foundation to support the extension of Oliver into the runaway and homeless youth sector. This grant marks an important milestone in the development of Oliver – bringing an affordable technology solution to a new array of service providers.
Every year, more than 5,000 youth and young adults in King County experience homelessness. Nearly one quarter of these young people were involved in the child welfare system as some point in their life – demonstrating the interconnection between child welfare involvement and youth homelessness. Hence, the reason Partners for Our Children is diving head first into a new, but related issue area.
The Raikes Foundation has been working closely with partners on this important issue since 2011 – raising awareness of youth homelessness and aligning the region’s collective efforts in a way that is data-driven and youth-informed. Oliver fits perfectly within their youth homelessness strategy – using data to understand what’s working for youth and creating the necessary mix of effective programs to match the varying needs of youth who enter homelessness.
We know that many struggling children, youth and young adults go from one social service provider to the next, with little connection between those services and, too often, with little guidance. If these service providers could communicate with one another easily, they could better understand the complete picture of their customers’ challenges and work together to solve them.
That’s where Oliver comes into play. Oliver is a technology-based solution that enables better communication among providers, reduces redundant paperwork and record keeping, and frees up more time for human-to-human connection to support those in need. Oliver helps to provide a more complete picture about how – and how well – we are serving some of our state’s most vulnerable people. By collecting the right data in a simple way, Oliver brings insight into what’s working, what isn’t, and how social services can more effectively coordinate and allocate resources to better serve the needs of youth and families.
Oliver is already making a difference in the Spokane region – streamlining parent-child visitation, which is the process in which parents visit their children who are currently in foster care. It’s an expensive, yet critically important service the state legally has to provide to families involved in the child welfare system. By automating referrals, measuring performance, and bringing other efficiencies to processes, we are helping create a stronger service delivery system in the long run. In time, we hope to be able to work with service providers on the west side of the state.
We strongly believe that Oliver has the potential to improve the lives of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of vulnerable youth and families in our communities. This grant represents another step toward that goal. We look forward to working even more closely with the Raikes Foundation and other homeless youth and young adult providers and leaders in the coming year.
If you have any questions about the grant or Oliver, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.