It’s time for a UX call to arms—hear me out. As UX practitioners, we’re often curious researchers, with attention to detail and an appetite for promoting the success of others, often through software. What happens if we put our heads together and apply our passion to a big, broken, and oft-overlooked system — the American foster care?
In the words of David Sanders, executive vice president of Casey Family Programs:
Enter Foster America, a foster care focused group, which is partnering with Cooper agency (yes that Cooper) to gather a bunch of smart UX designers and disrupt our broken, damaging foster care system.
Foster America and Cooper will be running a UX Boot Camp March 21st—24th, where 30 tech leaders from around the US will convene and facilitate 4 days of heads-down problem solving with UX designers who attend. Attendees will tour a foster care agency, conduct research, ideate with tech leaders, prototype and pitch, and more.
It’s an amazing opportunity, and UX Booth has a discount code to offer.
What’s the Problem?
I learned the term “aging out” recently, thanks to a movie recommendation. A bartender had suggested I watch a movie called Short Term 12. “So good,” he said. “So oddly optimistic,” he said.
Screw you, bartender. I didn’t want to get punched in the emotions that night, guy.
Short Term 12 is a film about a lot of things, but set in a world of short-term foster care for kids who struggle with behavior and “fitting in” elsewhere. And many of these kids are older teenagers, who will be cast out of the foster care system when they 18, left to find a way to, well, just survive. This is “aging out,” and some statistics say that 36% of these kids become homeless. 56% unemployed. This is a symptom of something that is flat-out broken.
Aging out is one of many problems facing foster care. For instance:
- 1 in 8 foster children will be confirmed victims of abuse or neglect by age 18.
- About 400,000 kids live in “the system” at any given time, without a secure family or caregiver.
- About $33 billion is spent annually responding to cases of abuse and neglect. This is a response to a symptom, not a solution.
These statistics are reported by Foster America. Think tanks and social workers and government have been churning in place on these issues for too long. Foster America is helping to approach the problem from a new angle.
Join the Boot Camp
Yes, it costs money. But look. Attending UX Boot Camp won’t just potentially help find solutions for a seriously broken system that sometime chews up kids. This event will also give mid- to senior-level UX designers an opportunity to flex their problem-solving muscles with a bunch of like-minded people. You’ll expand your skillset. You’ll meet awesome smart people. This is good for you, too.
So here’s what we can do: we have partnered with Foster and Cooper to provide interested attendees with a 20% discount. Here are the details:
- UX Boot Camp takes place March 21st—24th.
- It will be held at Cooper, in New York City.
- With the discount, it costs $1,940.
- The rest of the details are on the Eventbrite page.
So sign up, and be sure to use the discount code UXBOOTH20 before checkout.
Plus, after you go, we want to hear about your experience! We’d love to work with you on an article about what you learned, where the opportunities for improvement are, and how other UX designers can get involved.
Oh, and do check out Short Term 12. The bartender was totally right. It’s fantastic.