Posted Friday, October 31, 2014 by Team Northwoods

5 Must-Haves for Mobile Technology in CPS

The job of a social worker can be overwhelming for any number of reasons: challenging parents, heart-wrenching family situations, unpredictable hours, or unmanageable caseloads.

Many child protective services agencies recognize that social workers need access to mobile applications while in the field, but choosing the right mobile tool that helps, not hinders, true social work can be overwhelming too.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of the 5 must-haves for mobile technology in CPS. We want to help agencies find a social services software solution that enhances social workers’ daily work with families and complements their work in SACWIS.

1. Mobility

Mobile social workers need a user interface designed for the field. There’s no time for multiple clicks or cumbersome checkboxes when assessing a child’s safety. The UI must be intuitive.

2. Performance

Mobile apps must be built for performance to support decision-making. Mobile technology must be nonintrusive and designed to display and retrieve information in a way that matches a social worker’s natural conversation style so the worker can engage families and make critical decisions.

3. Access

It’s impossible to make an informed decision, like where to place a child removed from a home, without access to all the necessary case information. A mobile app designed specifically for CPS social workers provides immediate access to anything social workers need – from law enforcement reports to psychological assessments.

4. Security

This “must-have” almost goes without saying. Confidentiality in child welfare is essential. A mobile app must be encrypted to protect sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands if a device is lost or stolen.

5. Reliability

Social workers have to be able to depend on mobile technology, or they won’t use it. It’s frustrating enough when a spotty WiFi or Internet connection in a rural area or densely populated city prevents you from doing a mundane task like checking email. Now imagine that frustration in an intense situation where a child’s safety is at risk. Mobile apps need to function in either a connected or disconnected mode in the field so social workers can immediately capture and access information, which can be later synced to the case record.

We are passionate about providing CPS social workers the right mobile tool so they can do what they do best: protect children and strengthen families.

If you’d like to learn more about Northwoods’ mobile application for social workers, register for our Nov. 13 Webinar to get a firsthand walk-through of Compass® CoPilot and learn how it meets these 5 "must-haves.”