Indiana's Pioneering Effort to Adopt Casebook is Paying Off

Posted December 14, 2015
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog casebookthree 2015

This is the third in a four-part series about Case­book, a state-of-the-art tool to help child wel­fare work­ers track and improve results for chil­dren in their care using state-of-the-art tech­nol­o­gy. In this install­ment, you will learn about Indiana’s pio­neer­ing work and results in adopt­ing Casebook.

Part 3: View from Indiana

When Mitch Daniels was elect­ed gov­er­nor of Indi­ana in 2005, the state ranked at or near the bot­tom in vir­tu­al­ly every cat­e­go­ry of child ser­vices per­for­mance. Daniels tapped Judge James W. Payne, a 20-year vet­er­an juve­nile court judge who had pio­neered a new court man­age­ment sys­tem, to head a new stand-alone child wel­fare depart­ment that Daniels had cre­at­ed. Payne con­sult­ed with the Casey Foundation’s Child Wel­fare Strat­e­gy Group, which helped the state over­haul the way it deliv­ered ser­vices. But Payne knew the agency also was thwart­ed by inef­fec­tive data and paper record­keep­ing. The Gov­er­nor asked me to do what­ev­er it took to fix the sys­tem,” Payne says.

Work­ing with a provider of tra­di­tion­al child wel­fare tech­nol­o­gy, Payne grew frus­trat­ed with the lack of progress and took the bold step of start­ing from scratch. At about that time, Kath­leen Feely and her col­leagues at Casey approached the depart­ment about Case­book, and a mag­ic” part­ner­ship was formed.

In 2012, Case­book became a core com­po­nent of Indiana’s child wel­fare tech­nol­o­gy plat­form, the Man­age­ment Gate­way for Indi­ana’s Kids (MaGIK). When Indi­ana got a waiv­er of fed­er­al fund­ing reg­u­la­tions on pro­pri­etary soft­ware in 2014, it was a major vic­to­ry because the state could now apply for fed­er­al aid to sup­port its new sys­tem. While work still needs to be done for the agency to incor­po­rate all its admin­is­tra­tive func­tions into Case­book, staff at all lev­els have embraced the tech­nol­o­gy. Indi­ana recent­ly extend­ed its con­tract with Case Com­mons for up to five more years.

What we are try­ing to do here in the Depart­ment of Child Ser­vices in Indi­ana is to use mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy to assist us in a way it nev­er has before,” says Judge Mary Beth Bonaven­tu­ra, who suc­ceed­ed Payne and was appoint­ed as direc­tor of the depart­ment by Gov­er­nor Mike Pence in 2013. Case Com­mons absolute­ly knows our busi­ness. It makes it very seam­less in the job that we have to do.”

Accord­ing to Jeff Tuck­er, for­mer deputy assis­tant Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­o­gy direc­tor for the Indi­ana Depart­ment of Child Ser­vices, the val­ue of Case­book was real­ized instant­ly. We real­ized the imme­di­ate ben­e­fits of Casebook—how it has freed up our case­work­ers to get away from their desk and get out in the field, and they can catch up on their data entry at a more con­ve­nient time for them,” Tuck­er says.

Child wel­fare is a 247 busi­ness; it’s not just a 95 job,” notes Regi­na Ash­ley, for­mer deputy direc­tor of place­ment sup­port and com­pli­ance for the Indi­ana Depart­ment of Child Ser­vices and now asso­ciate chief oper­at­ing offi­cer of pol­i­cy at the Indi­ana Depart­ment of Work­force Devel­op­ment. So for case­work­ers to be able to access Case­book at home, in anoth­er office, or in a dif­fer­ent part of the state has been invaluable.”

Those over­see­ing case­work­ers also see the ben­e­fit, accord­ing to Kim­ber­ly Wells, a fam­i­ly case man­ag­er super­vi­sor. It def­i­nite­ly makes my job eas­i­er, because I have every­thing I need right at my fin­ger­tips,” she says.

Case­book dra­mat­i­cal­ly cuts down the time it takes to enter data on cas­es and makes it pos­si­ble for oth­er social work­ers, as well as providers out­side the sys­tem, to sub­mit infor­ma­tion, con­tribut­ing to a fuller pic­ture of the child and family.

One way Case­book sup­ports bet­ter prac­tice and results is by dis­play­ing promi­nent­ly how long it has been since a case­work­er, known in Indi­ana as a Fam­i­ly Case Man­ag­er, has vis­it­ed a child or helped facil­i­tate vis­its between a child and fam­i­ly mem­bers. Research shows that the more fre­quent such vis­its are, the bet­ter the out­comes are for kids.

Since a met­ric was embed­ded into Case­book in Jan­u­ary 2013 that records the last con­tact with a case­work­er, there has been a 13.8 per­cent increase in the share of chil­dren with a record­ed face-to-face con­tact with a Fam­i­ly Case Man­ag­er in the last 30 days. Also, in April 2014, Case Com­mons placed a met­ric on the dash­board of Fam­i­ly Case Man­agers that dis­plays how many days since each child on a case had a vis­it with a par­ent. Before this met­ric was embed­ded, there were 815 vis­its with par­ents record­ed in Case­book per week on aver­age. Since the met­ric was added, that num­ber has aver­aged 1,477 visits.

Next: Mark­ers of Progress

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