Technology Becomes Central to Child Welfare Management

The last thing an individual in charge of a child’s health and safety wants to do is miss a warning sign. Unfortunately, the vast amount of information necessary to monitor and make decisions on behalf of youths can be daunting and lead to oversight. Numerous organizations and child welfare professionals dedicate their lives to protecting children, but incidents still occur. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reported over 700,000 cases of child abuse and neglect in 2014, with 1,580 leading to death.

To handle this serious problem, many organizations turn to child welfare management systems. Using flexible information platforms, welfare professionals can turn the reports, interviews, and other events involved with a particular case into data points used to improve care, secure funding, and monitor clients. Collecting information in this manner creates complete visibility and helps child welfare agents make better decisions about how best to protect their clients.

A new system for a complete welfare picture

Governing, a civic information resource, suggested one of the primary benefits of case management software is integration and consistency. When every individual who plays a part in protecting and supervising a child’s well-being has access to the same data, it prevents incidents or other problematic factors from going unnoticed. Software solutions should offer automated warnings to bring police reports, hospital stays or other developments to everyone’s attention.

After implementation of a care management system in Indiana’s Department of Child Services, the percentage of shorter foster care stays reduced from 13.9 percent to 4.9 percent.

Analytics to prevent problemsTechnology Becomes Central to Child Welfare Management

Some organizations and child welfare agents want more from case management software than just an accurate view of the present. They want data analytics to predict future concerns. Social Justice Solutions reported the Los Angeles County’s Department of Child and Family Services created a system to compare and contrast data points to show troublesome patterns. Cases in the software solution’s top 1 percent of negative scoring led to 57 percent of child deaths, near fatalities and severe injuries in the area. The hope is to use data to remove children from dangerous environments before incidents actually occur.

Creating better data processes

The Chronicle of Social Change suggested arguments against case management software data solutions and predictive analytics won’t apply when organizations prioritize complete information records. Instead of relying on the input of a single user, each child care management solution should be built on data from multiple federal overseers, educational facilities, behavioral health institutions, and charities. The more people involved in the construction of each case record, the less chance for singular bias.

Automation may also help remove inefficiency and dishonesty from the child welfare data collection process. When case management software users are given empty fields to fill out, it prevents them from making their own decisions about what details are most relevant. Welfare organizations should design their information systems around unbiased best practices, federal regulations and the input of other notable organizations to create a consistent data solution for complete visibility of a child’s well-being.

Learn more

http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org/2016/02/19/new-strategies-long-overdue-measuring-child-welfare-risk/

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/01/14/an-80-billion-annual-tax-bill-thats-failing-our-children.html

http://www.governing.com/gov-institute/voices/col-child-protection-technology-caseworkers-shared-data.html

http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcyf/cps/signs.htm

https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/opinion/15852/15852

http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/cm2014.pdf

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