Voices from Accenture Public Service

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While training for a marathon, I started using a mobile app to track my progress. As I used the app, I realized it wasn’t quite right for my needs. Did I go code a custom application to ensure I could get all the features I needed? Hardly. I headed to the App Store and found an alternative that has worked out perfectly well. That’s the world we live in, right? We can quickly and easily access the resources and information we need when we need it using a device that fits in the palms of our hands.

That’s true in a lot of cases. But it’s not true for child welfare caseworkers.

When it comes to digital transformation, most Child Welfare Information System solutions are decades behind. A big reason: custom code that is costly to maintain, difficult to update and difficult, if not impossible, to use in the moments that matter.

Legacy solutions aren’t problematic simply because they use old technology that’s unintuitive or inconvenient for caseworkers. They’re problematic because of what happens to families and their kids when caseworkers can’t get the insights they need. Most of the time, a caseworker visiting a home following a report of possible abuse or neglect walks in with virtually no knowledge of the family’s history.

Instead, wouldn’t it be helpful to know that there have been six domestic violence calls to this address in the past year? Or that the mom of a newborn has already had two of her children placed in foster care? Those insights might prompt the caseworker to take clear steps to keep the kids out of peril.

On the other hand, what if the family in question has gone two years without any calls to police or child welfare despite having an ex-felon living in the household? Or what if it is the family’s first encounter with the system, and it’s resulted from short-term financial challenges – not intentional neglect? In those cases, removing children from the homes and placing them in foster care could severely, and unnecessarily, traumatize them.

This current reality was top of mind for our Child Welfare team as we worked to develop the Accenture Case Insights Solution (ACIS). One of our top goals: to accelerate the pace at which insights are available to caseworkers. To do that, we committed to a “Configuration First” mantra –and decided to build our solution using the Salesforce.com (SFDC) platform.

SFDC is an efficient platform for designing, developing and deploying a new CCWIS solution. It makes it possible to make changes with clicks, not code. And low or no custom code means agencies enjoy access to new innovations without additional cost – and they’re no longer wedded to any certain vendor for ongoing system maintenance.

I recently spent some time demonstrating ACIS at Dreamforce with our Salesforce Partners – including Rod Bremby.

As former commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Social Services, Rod has firsthand insights about why intuitive, sustainable technology is so important: “One of the greatest strengths of ACIS is the ability to pull in strong data insights – giving caseworkers information when they need it to help determine next best action or to understand which cases might present greater risk.”

I encourage you to read more about our vision for Child Welfare and our solutions – including ACIS and AVEnueS – and to follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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