Suffering from paralysis by analysis when it comes to decisions on alignment with the Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) rules? If so, you are not alone. Collecting troves of data, putting these data to work in a more evidence-based approach, and sharing across agencies, can be bewildering for the thousands of administrators and practitioners seeking a compliant information technology (IT) solution.
The real challenge rests on deciding which direction to go, keeping in mind the August 2018 compliance deadline.
You have three paths to follow:
Stay the course. If you are willing to risk the amount received and efficiency with which payments are made to your state, you can maintain your Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System (SACWIS). But before taking this uncertain path of least resistance, consider this: Is the two-decade-old system, designed before the advent of mobile computing, really doing the job it should?
Retrofit existing systems. As earlier efforts remind us, reworking an existing legacy system may not get you where you want to go and may create as much work--if not more--than adopting a new system. Normalizing disparate data types, integrating proprietary technology, and orchestrating the entire project are efforts often requiring highly experienced IT vendors accustomed to meeting the complex compliance needs of the public sector.
Modernize with an end-to-end solution. Sometimes, starting fresh is the best way. You can adopt a modern system that meets and exceeds CCWIS requirements by selecting among many of the new commercial off-the-shelf and cloud-based solutions. These systems can transform your current workflow and replace the dozen or more components that comprise an existing SACWIS-based system.
A Road to Change Through Technology
If you decide to pick the modernization route, recognize that you will be doing more than swapping out technology; you will be instituting a comprehensive solution with lasting benefits for a populace in dire need of your help--children and their families. This third alternative may be quicker to implement, and often more affordable in the long run.
An approach that allows caseworkers to make contextual decisions based upon real-time and relevant data sources can be life-changing for both staff and clients.
As psychologists with decades of experience working with kids in child welfare and juvenile justice, my colleagues and I spent years looking for...