HCJFS Director Moira Weir, a 20-year veteran of children’s services, worries most about one thing – kids aging out of foster care with no safety net.
So she’s really looking forward to what comes from a new project launched between HCJFS and Partnership for Innovation in Education (PIE), a group using a $1.1 million state grant to help schools teach kids to apply their math, science and technology skills in a new way. They’re going to solve problems for agencies and businesses.
HCJFS is paired with 7th- and 8th-grade gifted students at Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts. The students will come up with some kind of permanency program for foster kids, consider how much it will cost and think of ways to organize it and recruit for it. About 200 kids age out of the system locally every year. Many end up homeless or in jail.
At the end of the 10-week course, the students will develop an app related to their work.
Weir met with the SCPA kids Wednesday to help them get started and to explain why, of all the issues in child welfare, she’s so passionate about this one.
“Imagine when you turn 18 that you have no one,” she said. “Imagine that you graduate from high school and that’s it. These kids need someone to help them navigate life.”
The students, who meet in the computer lab on their lunch hour to take on this extra work, are ready. Some already have app ideas.
“I think it’ll be a challenge,” said Emily Muench. “I’m glad to impact someone else’s life in an important way.”
We’ll keep you updated as the course progresses. PIE founder Mary Welsh Schlueter hopes this round of student work shows how well case-based learning can work and helps attract even more grant money next year.