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Advocates and technology experts unite at Google event to help kids

Child advocates, pro bono attorneys and young people formerly involved in government systems joined together with corporate technology leaders earlier this month in Mountain View, Calif. to examine how technology can be used to improve the lives of vulnerable children.

The one-day conference, known as the 2015 Children’s Rights Summit, was the second such event hosted by Google and the global law firm Baker & Mckenzie, and included representatives of top Silicon Valley companies like Salesforce, Exponent, Intel and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

“In today’s culture of innovation, our brightest minds are constantly reinventing ways to make our lives better, yet the interests of at-risk children are too often ignored, and they are left out of that bright future,” states the program given to attendees.

Invited participants – like Children’s Rights’ Litigation Director Ira Lustbader – brainstormed ways technology can help kids involved in government child welfare, juvenile justice, education and health care systems.

Lustbader co-moderated a panel that highlighted how current technology in the private sector can fix outdated child welfare and juvenile justice technology systems that are endangering kids throughout the country. For example, in many states, child welfare caseworkers and managers do not have access to real-time, accurate information about children’s family history, their involvement with law enforcement or their school records or medication needs.

“The technology exists to fix these data systems and better serve thousands of kids, but state governments are not equipped to tackle the problems,” Lustbader said. “This screams for partnerships with the private sector, and convenings like the Children’s Rights Summit are ideal incubators for new approaches and solutions.”