On Thursday, Connected Tennessee, a public-private partnership to get more people competently using computers, announced they'd given laptops to 38 foster kids who either have graduated from high school or are just about to graduate from high school. In their press release, they say that in the last five years Connected Tennessee has "Awarded more than 4,400 computers to youth in need across the state" and "Provided computers to more than 2,890 foster youth aging out of the Department of Children’s Services program."
It got me thinking. You know how we kind of, you know, can't actually keep track of kids in DCS's care, and you know how, when you have a computer problem, you always end up calling your 15-year-old nephew who somehow fixes your computer while watching movies and playing video games and texting girls at the same time?
Well, now Connected Tennessee has put 7,000 computers in the hands of the very kids we're trying to keep track of — kids who are more tech-savvy than us! I'm thinking we could just set up a blog and DCS could go in every day and say, "Hey, how many kids in foster care or who have been contacted by DCS in some form or another have you seen today?"
And these kids could then just post in the comments, "I saw Dwayne and he was fine." "I hung out with Molly and she seemed a little tired and stressed." "Someone should go make sure Suzy's mom isn't spending all their grocery money on meth again." And someone from DCS could go through the comments and count up how many kids have been seen, and see if any of them need additional help.
Sure, under ordinary circumstances, foisting off on children and young adults the responsibility of keeping up with other children and young adults — you know, being the ones who make sure they're not dead — would be pretty horrifying.
But I remind you: They have working computers and a compelling and proven interest in living and keeping their friends and siblings alive. That's a whole lot better than DCS has been doing lately.