Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why is the adoption/foster industry stuck in the dark ages?

First and formost, I am a geek. I look at everything and think about how technology could be applied to it and improve it. It touches almost every aspect of our daily lives. From television to telephones to home security, all of them touch a computer in some way or another in our house.

I have an entire document management website for us to keep up with all of the adoption related paperwork. We can produce copies of all relevant documents by simply selecting and printing them.

I probably go too far, but it's who I am.

As we navigate our way to parenthood, I am astounded by how under utilized technology is.

If you remove the fact that these are children and look at them as "products", there is a myriad of technology that can be used to manage this. This is not as callous as it sounds. It is all about organizing and sorting.

Some of them have made an effort, and have listings on their websites. Problem is that it's useless if you never update it. The simple act of taking a few moments every day to make sure your listings are up to date would save you time in the long run because people won't be calling about children that were placed 6 months ago.

As we were going through our home study, we ended up with several hundred pages of printed materials, between documents, forms, etc. Without a doubt, all of these are in the form of a word document or pdf somewhere. Why print them? Just burn all of it to a CD and print off as needed. Offer a printed copy for people who request it. This also has the side effect of making all of it searchable. Can't recall what the documentation had to say about Cub Scouts? Just search them.

I am sure that most of the objection to this would be cost, but even that is minimal anymore. Perhaps this is an opportunity for an open source project that would be a fork of something like Sugar CRM modified to suit this industry. It could run on low cost commodity hardware with ease.

Obviously, when warehousing this kind of data there are security and privacy concerns, but if properly delt with it would be at less risk than the flimsy filing cabinets they are kept in now.

Anyhow, that's my rant for today.


  1. Wow. You sound like my husband! We have computer programs keeping track of everything. It seems like something this important should keep up with the people can search for these children who need parents!

  2. When we went through our homestudy and subsequent presentations, we bought divided binders and an entire file cabinet to keep track of all of the papers, receipts, affidavits, etc. etc. etc. One of the first things our social worker told us was that we would have to 'work the process.' She wasn't kidding. It most certainly was WORK. But in the end, we became parents, which otherwise would not have been possible.

    Best wishes on your journey to adopt!