Finding specific evidence to conclusively support a decision can be overwhelming, if not impossible, for child welfare social workers, supervisors, and directors.
Just think about it: if social workers were only responsible for one case, they (in theory) could spend all their time familiarizing themselves with the information in just that one case. Then, when it came time to make an important decision, they could feel confident about the intimate details of the child, family, or situation in question, and know exactly where to find the data they’d need to support their claim. But that’s not the case.
Realistically, workers are often managing 15 or 20 cases at once, if not more, that in most situations they’ve inherited from previous workers. On top of the thousands of pages that already exist in each case file, new documents get added daily.
Every piece of content has the potential to contain critical information about a case, but it gets buried deeper and deeper in the file as more new information gets added. Sure, you can figure out how to manage a lot of the current information coming in, but what’s challenging is how to quickly and uniquely apply years’ worth of previous history to the information you just received.
If you only look at the now without the why from the past—including all that buried information that contributes to a root cause—you’ll risk making the wrong decision.
No worker realistically has time to digest and apply the amount of both current and past information available to them, and “dark data”—critical, but hidden information—gets created as a result.
We created the infographic below to help you understand what causes dark data to exist in child welfare, and why it’s critical for your agency to find it. More importantly, you’ll see why dark data is so significant to each life you and your agency cares for as you support their hope for a brighter future. You can also download our eBook, "Shining Light on Dark Data in Child Welfare," to learn more.
Dark Data Defined: What It Means for Child Welfare and Why It's Critical to Find [Infographic]
Rich Bowlen’s goal is and always has been to give his very best day in and day out to do the most good for the most kids. Rich is dedicated to improving the lives of caseworkers and social workers so they can focus on what they do best: supporting the children, adults, and families that rely on the agency’s care.