The following announcement was written by FamilySearch. If you are not attending RootsTech 2023 in person, you will be able to watch this online at: http://www.familyseach.org/RootsTech:
Helping Foster Children Learn Who They Are by Connecting to Their Past
RootsTech, the largest genealogy and family celebration event in the world, announced today that Connect Our Kids, a nonprofit organization pioneering technology to find families, build connections, and create community for children in foster care, will present their organization’s story live on the RootsTech 2023 main stage on Friday, March 3. Connect Our Kids’ Family Connections platform provides child welfare professionals tools to find contact information for extended families for youth in foster care—with the mission of finding extended relatives and natural support networks who will offer lifelong connections, support, and belonging. Find out more at RootsTech.org.
Jennifer Jacobs and Jessica Stern, co-founders of Connect Our Kids, will share their organization’s incredible story in person with the global, family-oriented community of RootsTech 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and live online at RootsTech.org.
”Knowing your family history helps you know who you are and where you come from. This information helps to heal trauma,” said Jessica Stern, co-founder of Connect Our Kids. “FamilySearch is an incredible and powerful tool for children in foster care to discover their roots, which leads to healing trauma and moving into adulthood with confidence.”
“The theme of RootsTech 2023 is ‘Uniting,’” said Jen Allen, director of RootsTech. “We are pleased to use the RootsTech platform to help raise awareness for this important cause of uniting children with family members who can help them succeed in life.”
Connecting Foster Children with their Families
Connect Our Kids relies on 300+ public databases to help child welfare professionals find potential connections to living relatives for those in the foster care system. Before Connect Our Kids, social workers and volunteers had only their own sleuthing skills and a combination of web searches, telephone calls, knocking on doors, and social media searches—an arduous and time-intensive process. With Family Connections, an online and mobile app, the search process can begin in seconds, right from a smartphone.
Research shows that foster placement in the home of extended family and natural support networks is safer for the youth and increases the likelihood of success significantly. This can include reduced trauma, higher participation in extracurricular activities, higher levels of employment, and preserved family connection. An estimated 100,000 children in the United States are currently waiting for permanent placement due to the termination of parental rights. Another 400,000 are in the foster system and could benefit from Connect Our Kids technology tools.
The Family Connections platform is available free of charge to child welfare professionals at ConnectOurKids.org due to the generosity of family foundations and private donors.