ECAP, the only scientific, data-driven matching system demonstrated to improve the outcomes of children in foster care, was highlighted in a report released by The Capacity Building Center for the States, part of the U.S. government’s Children’s Bureau.
ECAP helps identify the best available foster family for each child by matching the child with the families most likely to provide a stable placement.
The Capacity Building Center for the States’ series, Inventory of Innovations, informs organizations about innovations that are helping address common child welfare problems. ECAP’s groundbreaking use of data to improve foster care placements is discussed in the Inventory of Innovations: Software and Technology article in the series. ECAP is cited as an example of how technology can substantially improve outcomes for children in foster care. By improving placement stability, ECAP reduces children’s traumatic experiences caused by multiple placement moves, thus improving lifelong outcomes.
The report also discusses how the federal Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System rule (CCWIS), encourages state child welfare organizations to incorporate tools like ECAP into their systems. With the help of CCWIS funding, states are now incentivized to take a modular approach to designing their information systems, taking advantage of innovative new technologies like ECAP rather than building each component from scratch. The federal funding encourages states to acquire research-backed tools like ECAP, which can offer demonstrated results.
Foster Care Technologies, a certified B Corporation providing ECAP to child welfare organizations, collaborates with social welfare researchers to regularly update its algorithms based on the current understanding of best practices. With over 23,000 placements made to date, Foster Care Technologies uses placement data to continue improving placement workers’ abilities to succeed in their jobs and help foster children.
The Capacity Building Center for the States, funded by the Children’s Bureau, helps public child-welfare agencies improve and sustain their programs. Their ultimate goal is to help public organizations achieve better outcomes for children and families. The Children’s Bureau is an office of The Administration for Children and Families at the US Department of Health and Human Services.