Canadian tech company with Indigenous founders takes on child welfare

Alo Solutions is a Canadian tech company with Indigenous founders that are committed to creating lasting positive change in the Canadian welfare system.

Co-founders Devin Edwards, an Indigenous man, and Sarah Sparks, a Black biracial, Indigenous woman, have worked together in the tech space for more than a decade. In 2018, the two joined forces to create a streamlined, modern tool to create better outcomes for children in the Canadian child welfare system.

Through its cloud-based SaaS technology and customizable CRM, the Alo team has developed an Application Portal for foster, adoption, customary care, kinship and respite, which stakeholders have said would be invaluable. Alo has plans for developing a Case Management Portal and a Parent Portal, which their market research has indicated is in high demand.

“We all read the headlines on Friday afternoon about the Federal government filing an appeal regarding Indigenous compensation. They then back-pedaled on to say they hoped not to have to pursue the appeal, as they were sitting down for further negotiations with key stakeholders,” said a November 4 press release.

Alo Solutions’s website says it is a female-led, Afro-Indigenous-owned Software Development Company. Alo Solutions is focused on improving the lives of those working in and affected by the Canadian Child Welfare system and is designed to take the guesswork out of the application process for both the applicant and the agency.

More than 50 per cent of children in care are Indigenous, although they only represent seven per cent of the national population, Edwards and Sparks believe that headlines of this nature illustrate not only the continual back-pedaling by the government when it comes to Indigenous children in care but also the systemic issues at play.

“I hope the Government of Canada is going to sit down to these talks in good faith and good conscience, but I fear they’re using this appeal to bully Indigenous people and children into accepting less than what they need under the threat of years in court,” said Edwards.

The release said that trust from the Indigenous population towards the government is broken and has been for a very long time. Edwards and Sparks are hoping that their solution from will go a long way towards building trust.

Sparks said the headlines are further “justification of why prevention needs to be a priority. We need to be reactive in our approach to righting the wrongs of the past and compensating victims fairly. We also need to be proactive in our approach to the future, through the clear lenses of what Canada’s past is and how that has trickled down into the systemic issues that continue to hurt children.”

The Alo platform is easily integrated with many systems, including government agencies at all levels, Indigenous communities, public and private organizations, and individuals like social workers and everyone involved in the Canadian child welfare system.

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