How GIS Can Help Child Placement for Foster Care

One of the sessions I attended at the Esri International User Conference was, Local Government: Well-Being. One of the speakers, Matthew Nalty, Kempe Center for the Treatment and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, explored a case study from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS). The study explored how far away children were removed from their home of origin when they move to an out-of-home placement paid for by TDFPS. The study was based on data from 2009-2011 some of the findings were:

  • Results show that an average of 25% of all children in TDFPS have traveled greater than 50 miles from their home and in rural areas this increases to an average of 60%.

The Kempe Center used ArcGIS to geolocate placement addresses. The data will be used to help TDFPS decrease transportation costs and use data to inform their decisions on placements. The Center believes that children should remain within 50 miles of their home of orgin, and one of the findings from this study was to look more carefully at how to keep children closer to home.

With GIS, administrators can look at potential foster homes, tracks history and take more holistic view on the best home to place a child in. This was a fascinating session, and one the again shows the power of GIS to consolidate multiple sources of data and improve decision making for public sector administrators.

Check out the GIS resources available on GovLoop:

When Esri was founded in 1969, it realized even then that geographic information system (GIS) technology could make a difference in society. GIS helps people to solve problems at local, regional, national, and global scales. Access maps and apps at ArcGIS.com. Be sure to check out all the GIS resources produced by Esri and GovLoop.

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