Stack Overflow Participating in White House Foster Care & Technology Hackathon

by David Haney

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At Stack Overflow, we’re committed to making the internet a better place, and our products aim to enrich the lives of developers as they grow and mature in their careers. This week we have been given the opportunity to expand our reach beyond developers into another worthy demographic: foster youth.

On May 26th and 27th, Stack Overflow has the privilege of participating in the inaugural White House Foster Care & Technology Hackathon. This event – hosted by the White House, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Think of Us – will bring together child welfare leaders, non-profit organizations, and foster care families and alumni, as well as engineers, technologists and leaders from the technology sector.

At the Hackathon, Stack Overflow will team up with subject matter experts to “hack” on the topic of preventing unplanned pregnancy for foster youth. We will create a prototype solution to try and ensure that youth in care have access to culturally relevant information and resources about sexual health, including pregnancy planning and prevention. Our hackathon team – Adam Lear, Kirti Thorat, Geoff Dalgas, and David Haney – are very excited to put our skills to use in a field that is deserving of positive change.

Over the past few decades, it has become clear that technology brings about positive social change. From bringing education to underserved populations, to printing medical devices for third-world countries, to raising awareness of social inequities, technology is one of the best resources we have to solve the problems we face as a global community. As humans we have a responsibility to help each other in whatever ways we can. As software engineers, we’re equipped to create technology that can change lives. To that end, our proposed solution is a mobile app – easily accessed by foster youth via smartphones – that can provide geo-aware addresses, information, and ratings about trusted resources, clinics, and support groups that foster youth can access and learn from. A major issue identified in the field currently is uncertainty about who foster youth can talk to – often on short notice – about a broad spectrum of sexual health topics; this app can become a powerful on-demand resource for social workers and foster youth everywhere.

Stack Overflow will continue to serve programmers of all ages and upbringings. We are honored by this amazing opportunity to improve the lives of foster youth, and look forward to meeting – and being a resource to – the many foster youth that will pursue careers as developers in their future.