February 2024Vol. 25, No. 1Importance of User Experience When Developing a Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System
Written by Children's Bureau Division of State Systems staff
Technology can play a pivotal role in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of child welfare services. However, developing an effective Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) isn't just about functionality or reporting requirements; it's also important to ensure an exceptional user experience (UX). Some key factors to consider include the following:
Accessibility and Inclusivity
A CCWIS should be accessible to all users, which may include caseworkers, supervisors, youth in care, service providers, foster parents, community partners, attorneys, ombudsman staff, and families involved with the child welfare agency. A user-friendly interface and intuitive navigation ensure that end-users with diverse backgrounds and skill sets can interact with the CCWIS (or any associated portals and apps) effectively.
Efficiency and Productivity
A well-designed CCWIS boosts caseworker productivity. Streamlined processes, clear workflows, and intuitive interfaces help caseworkers complete tasks more efficiently, letting them focus more on social work and less on navigating complex information technology systems.
Data Accuracy and Reporting
Timely, accurate, and complete data are necessary to make informed decisions. A CCWIS with a good UX helps users input data correctly and consistently, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring the reliability of reporting and analytics.
Resistance to change is common when deploying new information systems, apps, or features. A positive UX can encourage faster user adoption, as it reduces the learning curve and frustration associated with new systems.
Child welfare requires collaboration among all participants in a case to ensure the needs of children and families are being addressed adequately and appropriately. A well-designed CCWIS can facilitate communication and cooperation among case participants, leading to better outcomes for children and families.
For more information or helpful suggestions, see the Children’s Bureau UX self-assessment tool, which is available as Appendix L to CCWIS Technical Bulletin #7.
The Children's Bureau Division of State Systems and the Capacity Building Center for Tribes are hosting a three-part webinar series on Tribal Child Welfare Data System Procurement, the purpose of which is to provide a detailed framework of best practices in planning for and procuring a new case management system.
Participants will hear directly from tribal staff about their process for selecting and implementing a system. In addition, facilitators will connect participants with resources, technical assistance, and peer supports.
Webinar recordings and/or presentation slides are or will be available for past sessions. Registration is open for the next webinar, scheduled for February 21, 2024. See below for more information:
Part 1: "Planning for a New Data System"
- Build understanding and plan for the program's long-term data needs.
- Learn strategies to engage with program staff, tribal leadership, and partner agencies to determine needs and build buy-in.
Part 2: "Procuring a Tribal Child Welfare Data System"
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 – Registration is open.
- Build knowledge to plan for change management during implementation.
- Learn how to plan for data migration and develop complex test cases for a vendor to demo.
Part 3: "Contracting With Data System Vendors"
Wednesday, March 20, 2024 – Registration is open.
- Learn how to develop a vendor contract.