The State of Indiana Department of Child Services is a Trailblazer

The State of Indiana Department of Child Services is a Trailblazer in connecting data and building a comprehensive view of the children at the heart of its mission.

 

“IN DCS Child Support Bureau had dedicated the past seven years to a project called INvest, and it’s one of our team’s proudest achievements because it helped introduce an architecture that jumps from the mainframe paradigm to the new cloud-based millennia in a single step,” said Kevin Jones, CIO, State of Indiana Department of Child Services. “No more green screens; our organization can now trade the ownership of the depreciation of a custom IP and static architecture, for modernization of a continuously improved platform that will be just as modern 10 years from now, as the day we turned it on. Leveraging Salesforce is allowing our organization to not only standardize our technology stack for the child support and child welfare systems, but also implement the Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) on the same tech stack as INvest.”

The Indiana Department of Child Services’ (IN DCS) mission is to engage with families and collaborate with federal, state, local, and community partners to protect children from abuse and neglect, and to provide child support services. IN DCS researches cases, evaluates applications, organizes foster care, and more in order to give children opportunities to grow up in safe, healthy, and supportive environments. Like many child and family service organizations, IN DCS is divided into two categories: child support, which focuses on the funding and financial aspects of the process, and child welfare, which focuses on the delivering services that protect the safety and wellbeing of the child. 

“However, this set of programs and services is defined by nuance since no two kids, their background, or their needs are ever the same. Which means we need to be able to adapt and personalize our services for each case — i.e., each child we support,” said Jones. And for an agency that manages an average of 258,110 cases per year since 2015, this is no small feat.1

Coordinating care across complex cases.

In addition to managing essentially 258,000+ unique workflows each year, IN DCS also has to coordinate the efforts of a number of people, representing a number of organizations, as they work together to deliver care. Think: adoption agencies, teachers, counselors, judges, doctors, foster parents, and more. IN DCS cases require the work of almost 4,000 field staff, which have to act fast; IN DCS aims to close a case in just 45 days, as many of the needs it collectively supports could have lasting impact on a child’s quality of life.2

“Last but not least, we have to connect the dots between child support and child welfare since both workflows are often called upon when helping our clients,” said Jones. “We found ourselves considering a custom-built solution to manage these processes and datasets, which could have easily cost upwards of $200 million. That’s not a good use of taxpayer dollars, and would have likely required additional funding in terms of time and energy required to build out such a complex system.”

A strategic platform approach to child services.

Jones and team launched CCWIS, a complex case management system built on the FedRAMP-authorized Salesforce 360 Platform for Government. It connects multiple systems across multiple organizations, giving IN DCS the kind of data-driven, 360-degree view it needs in order to deliver personalized, actionable, real-time care to the children it supports.

Salesforce gives CCWIS a CRM-based foundation that integrates child welfare and child services systems. This can bring information about a child, including the child’s history, caretakers, and more, into a single profile-like setting. Jones and team then use this information as their system of record to:

  • Create a case for a given child
  • Tag its subject matter experts on specific questions, needs, or services
  • Update the case record and/or the child’s profile with new information
  • Maintain both visibility and accessibility as needed across child welfare and child services

IN DCS layered on Knowledge, which surfaces helpful articles, answers to frequently asked questions, and self-services information the team might need as it works through the case. The organization further extended the CRM base with Community Cloud, which added a portal to the system. Child Welfare at IN DCS uses this portal to issue and collect child support payments, integrating transaction status into the child’s case in real time. 

Marketing Cloud3 gives the IN DCS team tools to push out information on different programs and available services through newsletters or emails. Shield provides an extra layer of security to the solution since CCWIS manages a large amount of personal and identifiable information, while Sandbox gives admins an offline environment to test updates, new features, and new functionality. Last but not least, MuleSoft serves as CCWIS’s omni-channel API and integration solution, pulling data, such as dental, immunization, health records, from across IN DCS’s systems through to the child services side when children are relocated to a new state.

 

Early results point to lasting impact.

Many IN DCS employees have essential responsibilities that required them to still come into the office during the COVID-19 crisis. Many other employees, like case managers, still have to make house calls, visit kids, and perform other work in the field as they work to keep kids in safe and healthy environments amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Jones and team leveraged the same design principles from their work with CCWIS and INvest, and deployed an app that tracks the amount of masks, hand sanitizer, and general PPE available to employees in real time. “We’re using the same model to get employees the tools they need to do their job,” said Jones.

The team has also started to manage shift scheduling on the platform, adjusting schedules to fit capacity limitations as risk levels rise and fall, and facilitate employee-based contact tracing. Salesforce Maps was layered on to visualize the number of cases per office or team. “That way if we have an outbreak in one team or office, we can run a report to quickly see who was scheduled alongside them, if there were any visitors, the clients they might have visited, and so on, helping mitigate service disruption while keeping employees safe. Crucial capabilities in emergency scenarios,” said Jones. The team built a prototype in just eight hours, and the app was live and being used by 4,000 people just 10 days after that.

“We had the platform in place that not only supported the mission-critical requirements, but also enabled us to quickly pivot and address the reality brought on by COVID-19,” said Jones. “Turns out, we were ready for the unpredictable.”

Footnote: [1]  https://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/state-data-on-child-support-collections.aspx

Footnote: [2]  https://www.in.gov/dcs/files/Child_Welfare_Policy_Manual.pdf

Footnote: [3] Marketing Cloud is outside the FedRAMP boundary.

 

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