- July/August 2019
- Vol. 20, No. 6
The Use of Innovative Technologies in Child Welfare Services
Agencies and organizations are increasingly turning to technology to better meet the needs of and improve outcomes for children and families involved in child welfare. New technologies and innovations can increase an organization's capacity; however, they also come with their own unique challenges, often requiring substantial changes to systems, casework practice and protocols, policies, and more.
The Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) final rule promotes using technology for innovation and agility and has given title IV-E agencies more freedom in the technology they use, including off-the-shelf products. Previously, information technology systems went through lengthy design periods and were difficult to change and update.
A research summary from the Southern Area Consortium highlights the use of the following technologies:
- Cloud and web-based information systems and case management tools—These include the Statewide Automated Child Welfare Information System and CCWIS tools, the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise, and child maltreatment online reporting systems for receiving child abuse and neglect reports.
- Mobile technologies—Mobile tools can help families involved in child welfare understand, access, use and maintain their benefits. In addition, mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, support child welfare professionals by improving the timeliness and accuracy of documentation and ensuring access to critical information while in the field. Tablets and apps are also being optimized for use in child welfare.
The summary includes examples of emerging and existing technologies being used in foster parent recruitment and retention efforts, predictive analytics, online resource portals for youth and families, and more. Child welfare professionals and agencies can use this research summary to learn about what their peers are doing in the field, gain insight into what is successful, hear about lessons learned, and learn how to access some of the tools and technologies.
Research Summary: Innovative Technologies in Child Welfare Services is available at https://theacademy.sdsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/innovative-technology-in-cw-may-2018.pdf (1,510 KB).