College Foundation Goes National with ePassport
By Terri Kletzman
The Community College Foundation has
created ePassport, a Smart Card internet-based health and education
data tracking system, to provide a simplified means for youth in foster
care to access and update their records any time and any place. Since
1983, The Community College Foundation has served thousands of foster
youth through the Independent Living Program and other emancipation
programs. One theme that continued to reappear during our work with
foster youth was the desperate need for a secure and accurate repository
for foster youth records. This need became apparent in two distinct
areas: the millions of dollars lost on duplicative services, such
as over-immunization and manual record pulls and secondly, the peril
faced by the foster youth due to lost or missing records.
Foster youth are unique in that they are a highly mobile population.
A child may change residences as much as three times in one year.
ePassport provides a simplified and very tangible vehicle for that
youth to access his records at all times, regardless of his living
situation. The Community College Foundation is currently running
three successful ePassport pilot programs throughout California
and is looking forward to implementing a national pilot.
Five years ago, there were about a quarter of a million children
in US foster care systems. Today that number has soared to more
than 550,000. Statistical information on foster youth is virtually
ePassport is a Smart Card internet-based health and education data
tracking system created by The Community College Foundation. A Smart
Card is a credit card sized plastic card embedded with a microprocessor.
It provides not only memory capacity, but computational capability
The primary advantage of the Smart Card is its tamper proof security
Smart Cards contain 16 kilobytes of programmable ROM. The card uses
a serial interface and receives power from a card reader.
Caseworker adds data to youth's ePassport
The youth is initially assigned a card by a social worker assigned
to his care. He or she creates a card using ePassport software and
a Smart Card reader. Everyone involved in the youth's care updates
the youth's critical information in the same way. So for example,
if he visits the doctor and receives immunizations, the doctor's
office would use ePassport software, update his information, synchronize
that to a server and return the child's ePassport Smart Card to
him with the new information. The school can then use ePassport
to verify proof of immunization, rather than delaying enrollment
because of missing paperwork.
Even if a card is misplaced or damaged, the data is encrypted and
archived on the server and any official with access rights and the
proper password can still retrieve the information associated with
that child. The purpose of this system is to link all agencies involved
in the child's care, empower foster youth and increase the chances
for successful emancipation.
ePassport has been created with a novice computer user in mind.
Teachers, health care providers, social workers, care givers - all
individuals involved the youth's well being can participate in contributing
data to ePassport.
The cost benefit of ePassport is clear: the reported yearly cost
to care for foster youth in the US is $7 billion and much of these
funds are wasted on duplicative services such as over-immunization
and manual record pulls due to lost or missing records.
There are other impressive features offered by this Smart Card solution
including ePurse and Time and Attendance. The card can function
as an electronic payment card. This "ePurse" allows the
youth to avoid the inconvenience of cash or checks by storing a
pre-paid and reloadable monetary value directly on the Smart Card.
This is particularly useful for low cost purchases.
The Time and Attendance Smart Card solution is currently in use
at The Community College Foundation headquarters. This feature allows
collection and distribution of attendance hours and security access
control. This usage is particularly interesting to schools that
receive funding based on student attendance.
For more information about ePassport contact: The Community College
Foundation (916) 418-5100, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terri Kletzman is Program
Manager for the Community College Foundation. She can be reached