One Simple Wish, a non-profit that “grants” foster youth wishes, is launching a new online platform that will improve connections between foster youth and potential foster and adoptive parents.
The platform, launching in mid-October, will help “match” children in foster care with donors.
One Simple Wish is a web-based initiative that allows people to help foster youth by granting “wishes,” which typically are various items and special experiences selected by foster youth nationwide. Individuals or organizations can donate money, and organizations that partner with One Simple Wish submit requests on behalf of children through the website.
Donors are then connected to children’s wish posts, and can donate to grant wishes.
The “platform is based on real need, not perceived need,” said Danielle Gletow, founder and executive director of One Simple Wish.
The new initiative is intended to take these transactions one step further, enabling a matching process of sorts as foster children and donors can connect on more meaningful level.
“Every child has a different situation, unique needs,” Gletow said. “In a matching system what one person needs is not what another person needs.”
The new platform will shift the way One Simple Wish’s online data is used. The data is “currently based on a wish-centric model, and now it’s going to be a child-centric model,” Gletow said.
Each child featured on One Simple Wish’s website will have their own profile with information about them, as well as their current wishes.
All children featured will be able to receive messages on their profile, and One Simple Wish donors can send messages to a child’s profile page. Messages will be received and responded to by each child’s caseworker. Foster youth over age 18 will be able to respond directly themselves.
The website platform will denote if a child is legally free for adoption, and a donor could make an inquiry with a child’s caseworker regarding foster care processes.
The platform is designed to facilitate greater engagement between donors and foster youth, potentially leading to deeper connections, mentorships and even adoptions.
The goal is to “target additional asks of the public, creating different ways to connect and pushing the agencies to help build and sustain these connections,” Gletow said.
The new platform has emerged from a contracted collaboration with Bluefin Labs, a Massachusetts-based social television analytics company.
“There is a balance between protecting kids and helping them,” Gletow said. “We’re trying to help create this transparency as sometimes confidentiality keeps them from resources.”
One Simple Wish is currently looking for more partners to join the initiative, as many current partners are not based in New Jersey.
“We need a network to drive those people down the funnel; we’re just getting started. We’re opening up to the masses and making foster care accessible for everyone.”