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Ensuring the Longevity of Just as Special’s Foster Care Resource Database

Presented at the Data Science for Social Good panel

Published onNov 21, 2023
Ensuring the Longevity of Just as Special’s Foster Care Resource Database

To our knowledge, Just As Special ( is the first resource database dedicated to serving the foster care community in Colorado and the United States as a whole. In this presentation, we will share how Just As Special built this grassroots database from the ground up with minimal funding, our involvement with UC Berkeley’s Data Science Discovery Program in spring 2023, the process of using our project’s data to uncover findings about the foster community in Colorado, and the challenges of bridging the gap between community-led databases and academic research. Project leader and data architect Emmy Tither and Data Science Discovery students Ryan Chen and Deheng Peng will discuss their experiences; what did we learn and how can it help others in the future? As the project winds down in late 2023, we hope that sharing the project’s story will allow it to live on and inspire similar initiatives serving the foster care community both within and outside of academia.

The project also completed an accompanying whitepaper regarding this work.

The following students at UC Berkeley participated on this project:

  • Brie Zhou

  • Deheng Peng

  • Fanyi Lyu

  • Irene Widiaman

  • Madeeha Khan

  • WingYeung Ma

  • Sophia Zheng

  • Abbie Tsai

  • Cindy Zhang

  • Evie Currington

  • Katelyn Jo

  • Richard Zhuang

  • Ryan Chen

Just As Special team members: 

Emmy Tither and Natasha Pepperl

Additional resource database project volunteers:

Briette Slonim, Asena Rinderknecht, Jasmine Wright

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