HubCare connects carers to child data

An Australian start-up says it has turned the child care and safety model on its head.

Until this week, Australian start up HubCare had been keeping a low profile, quietly building its technology and linkages with child care providers and government.

However co-founder Ruby O’Rourke, alongside other users at an Amazon Web Service event in Sydney on Wednesday, has now unveiled the fruits of that effort, a cloud application called HubHello.

HubHello was informed by O’Rourke’s own experience as a state ward in Victoria and as a mother. It aims to improve the transparency of important information about children and to apply analytics to childcare efforts, including machine learning.

Now HubCare, with the help of research centre NICTA, is releasing a system connecting all parties charged with the care of vulnerable children. The system analyses data for care agencies to “heat map” the most vulnerable children for help.

HubCare also reads and writes directly into government systems to, for instance, automatically calculate or recalculate entitlements for health, welfare and family support among other services. As the child’s situation changes, the data follows the child across their stages of life.

O’Rourke says the system turns the child care model on its head by creating a unique, secure identity for each child in the system into which data can be fed and accessed. It puts and their carers in charge of how that information is shared and who with, she says.

The overall aim of HubCare, she said, is to facilitate all government business with citizens who will have one global record. O’Rourke said there are now over 1 million users who have totally opted in to sharing their information with government and other service providers.

These can include integrating with the National Preventative Health Strategy and state healthy eating initiatives.

“We built this system based on the child and look out,” O’Rourke says. Users can also “power down” and be forgotten.

Privacy is a key aim, she said, with all data protected by 256 bit encryption.

HubCare, founded in 2007, now has a team of 45. It moved to AWS in 2009 after another hosting provider failed to live up to expectations of uptime.

Its business model is built around taking a fee for services from service providers linked to the system.

Rob O’Neill travelled to Sydney from New Zealand courtesy of AWS.