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Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2015 by Rich Bowlen

Mobile App Helps Clark County Boost Family Engagement

“Social work careers are not for the faint of heart, but they are for those who want to make a difference.”

Every social worker I know, myself included, would agree with this statement 100 percent. The job is stressful, fast-paced and can be emotionally draining. However, the feeling of pride after helping keep children safe and families strong keeps social workers coming back day after day. What can become too much is the overwhelming amount of manual paperwork that prevents social workers from spending quality time with families.

Intake, ongoing, foster care, and adoption social workers in Ohio-based Clark County Family and Children Services faced that very problem.

"The caseworkers have a tremendous amount of work to do and more and more are getting tied up in paperwork, which takes away from what it is we all really like to do, and that is spending time in direct services with families," said Pam Meermans, Deputy Director.

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To meet its mission to promote safety, stability and permanency for children, Clark County Family and Children Services needed to reduce the paperwork burden to help social workers increase the amount of quality time they spend with families.

The agency invested in Northwoods’ mobile app, Compass® CoPilot, so social workers could electronically capture documents and case notes in the field, take date- and time-stamped photos of families and living situations, complete forms with clients and have them electronically signed, and access necessary documents in the field.

Using the mobile document management solution, social workers are saving up to two hours every day on paperwork. The found time can be repurposed to spend more time with the family during home visits, take clients to appointments, or quickly connect families with community resources. Social workers say the improved family engagement helps improve outcomes and reduce reoccurrence.

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Jennifer Young, program specialist, has
more time to focus on engaging the foster family
she is working with.

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Social workers meet to share best practices and
tips and tricks about using Compass CoPilot to
better serve families.

"We can get our work done quickly and then we can focus on things like observing the children, seeing how they interact, and seeing their development and their progress,” Young said.

To learn more about Clark County Family and Children Services’ story, download the written case study, or check out these firsthand reactions in the video case studies.

 

 

Rich Bowlen-1 Rich Bowlen is Director, Protective Services at Northwoods, where he is dedicated to improving the lives of caseworkers and social workers. Rich has 25 years serving in child protective services and is known for his passion for improving the lives of children.

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