Arms Wide: Intro and Identify

Who are we?

My name is Neha Goel and I am a senior studying Civil Engineering. I am interested in learning about the adoption and foster care system as well as its benefits and misconceptions. I am excited to work on a project with a community partner in Houston and hopefully make an impact in our area!

My name is Ramee Saleh and I am a senior studying Economics and Policy Studies. This is my first semester with DFA and I am really excited to learn more about and engage with the design process. I am looking forward to making an impact for Arms Wide Adoption Services and adoptive families and working together with my team!

My name is Kusha Gupta, and I am a sophomore studying Political Science. I look forward to learning about the adoption and foster care system and the different ways our team can address challenges in the adoption process!

My name is Shreya Menon and I am a freshman studying Civil Engineering. This is my first semester as a member of Design for America and I am looking forward to utilizing the design process in order to help the Arms Wide Organization in their goal to increase foster care adoption.

Why are we working together?

We hope to positively influence our local community through research-based, sustainable solutions. Each of us brings a different skill set that can contribute to creating a more effective impact. While we do not have extensive experience with the adoption and foster care systems, we all believe a strong adoption and foster care structure is essential to the overall wellbeing of our Houston community.

Our project?

We are working with Arms Wide Adoption Services to reframe the opportunity and clarify misconceptions regarding the adoption of older foster-care youth. The older a child in foster care is, usually the longer it takes for them to be adopted. We would like to design materials, guides, methods, etc. that explain the process better and encourage more potential families to attend information sessions and persist through the adoption process.

What we did today?

Today we started to brainstorm and identify current problems that Arms Wide is facing and how they are affecting their adoption and foster care services. We decided that Arms Wide is mainly facing problems highlighting the opportunity to prospective parents, clarifying the adoption/ foster process, getting families through the door, and retaining parents during the process. We also researched our community partner Arms Wide and certain existing solutions to our current problems in order to gain more perspective on the issue. This helped us to identify current problem spaces that might be of focus for the semester. Moving forward, we hope to meet with our community partner to learn more about the subject and refine our scope.

Some questions we hope to answer in the upcoming weeks are:

  • How can we measure clarification?
  • What does success look like in increasing numbers?
  • Where and at which stage do families drop out of the adoption process?
  • How often does Arms Wide measure parent retainment?
  • Do people come to information meetings not knowing Arms Wide focuses on foster care adoption?

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