Using Data to Prepare for Client Visits
The information that the San Francisco Who’s Who list records/collects is crucial to knowing who a case is for and what the key components of a case are: names, addresses, phone numbers, active service providers and collaterals, school information, and health exams. While most child welfare workers keep a current Who’s Who for use in the field, it is generally only updated electronically when a case is about to be transferred. The problem is that many cases can stay on a caseload anywhere between three months and three years. If the child welfare worker does not update addresses or school information in the Child Welfare Services/Case Management System (CWS/CMS) regularly, then should a worker go out on extended leave unexpectedly or a disaster occur, it takes a considerable amount of time for coworkers to obtain the correct information.
Historically, the Who’s Who was a one- or two-page case summary completed in Microsoft Word and imported into CWS/CMS at case transfer. Importing an MS Word document into CWS/CMS means that while the data may be a “point in time” record of the happenings of a case, it is out of date shortly thereafter, which can cause more issues, regardless of how frequently workers update the Who’s Who.
Some time ago, I approached Casey Foshay with the NCCD Children’s Research Center SafeMeasures® team with the problem. We spent some time reviewing the existing Word document and consulting with San Francisco staff to ascertain the key points they would like to populate. By creating the Who’s Who list in SafeMeasures, staff are required to correct bad data in CWS/CMS before case transfer, otherwise the electronic version of Who’s Who in SafeMeasures will not populate correctly. We regularly review the document and exclude outdated or noncrucial information and include new fields as they are developed in CWS/CMS.
Shortly, San Francisco County will be adding in a quality assurance/accountability expectation for supervisors to check the Who’s Who that will be transferred, ultimately improving data across the system, meeting better outcomes (documentation of education and health), and allowing the department to have an efficient and timely response in the event of disaster. The Who’s Who design was completed successfully because of the excellent customer service, technical knowledge, and responsiveness provided by SafeMeasures. New legislation and mandates require child welfare data solutions every month. I feel confident that, with the support and experience provided by SafeMeasures, San Francisco County’s child welfare department can meet and improve any data expectations.
Thomas McGeorge is a protective service supervisor and licensed clinical social worker for the City and County of San Francisco Human Services Agency in the planning unit. The primary focus of his work is with the child welfare program, identifying and improving business processes to help data meet the many demands of local, state, and federal outcomes.