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CDA Improves Monitoring Of Children


JIS: The Child Case Management System (CCMS) is making a significant impact in improving the management of information pertaining to the care and protection of the nation’s children.


The system, being implemented by the Child Development Agency (CDA), is part of efforts by the Government to strengthen the delivery of services to children, particularly those in the child protection system.


Team Leader for the CDA’s South East Region, Morvetia Hunter, tells JIS NEWS that since the introduction of the pilot in August 2015, the software has made a tremendous impact on operations by reducing duplication of efforts and ensuring that cases are properly monitored.


She notes that the system has created a greater level of efficiency and accountability as well as improving record keeping, as information for all case files is stored on a central system, making it easily accessible by all relevant stakeholders. This, in turn, has improved communication within the CDA’s regional offices.


“Rather than going to a desk and talking to an officer, we can go on the system where we can see what has taken place in terms of treatment or assessment for this child and rather than reinventing the wheel we continue the process. It is a one-stop-shop where you can access everything,” Ms. Hunter points out.


The CCMS, which incorporates the Social and Health Management (SOHEMA) software, assists child protection officers to manage case files for children registered in the child protection sector.


It populates the database with personal information about children, creating a profile, which includes contact details, demographics,  and relationships (immediate and extended family).


 Once a child becomes a client of the CDA, this information is captured in a case log, which details the circumstances by which the child came into the care of the agency and service delivery information.


The digital platform categorizes the services offered within the sector into three primary case types – child protection, clinical counselling and adoption.


With approximately 4, 800 children in State care as at March 2016, the CCMS is a vast improvement over the paper-based system previously used by the CDA, which saw officers manually composing reports at individual agencies, resulting in fragmented and inefficient use of resources.


The CCMS system addresses these and other issues as it is designed to accommodate the various business services of the CDA.


These are: intake, investigation, counselling, case planning, case management, residential care (children’s homes and places of safety), home and trial, children and family support units, living in family environments, foster care, family reintegration, adoption services and all court services.


These services are tailored to meet the individual needs of each child and the system shows the current and recommended interventions.


The software also facilitates real-time information sharing among key child protection agencies including the family and children’s courts; the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR); the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA); the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information.


State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, the Hon. Floyd Green, says the case management system is part of the Government’s mandate to modernise and effectively monitor the child care sector using technological solutions.


“One of the key elements is that this software interface will allow us to connect with areas such as the children’s court, the family court, the OCR and CISOCA, as well as the Ministry. We can now have a streamlined system that is interlinked through technology,” he points out.


Mr. Green adds that a critical feature of the CCMS is an automated notification that alerts case workers when reports are due for follow-up.


“The system helps us to identify where we are falling short so that we can plug those gaps and better serve our children.  Our social workers will have greater support in relation to information and tracking and will help in improving employee efficiency and accountability which is critical, increasing the accuracy of client information and streamlining our services,” the State Minister says.


Systems Administrator for the CDA, George Bowes, notes that the software solution facilitates real-time tracking of cases as child protection officers will have ready access to information. This will enable faster turn-around time for investigations and actionable response to reports of child abuse.


“It will track a child from the point of intake in the system to the point when the case is closed or the child has exited our care. The CCMS will also record all areas of service delivery and is a powerful tool in planning and integrating our various programmes. We repositioned ourselves strategically to improve our case management processes and as a result, the CCMS is a key enabler to achieving success to improve efficiency, workflow and client support,” he says.


Mr. Bowes tells JIS NEWS that the “Jamaican-flavoured” case management system has been designed to address local challenges using international best practices in child protection systems.


In addition to ensuring accuracy of client information and streamlining service delivery, he reports that since activating the system, the agency has seen a 75 per cent reduction in the amount of paper used in the composition of reports.


The CCMS was developed by Canadian Software Company, Avocette, through $53 million in funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the ‘Transitional Living Programme for Children in State Care’ project and the Caribbean Child Development Centre (CCDC).


The system is being rolled out on a phased basis in the various stakeholder entities.


The CDA offers a range of family and children services. It serves children zero to 18 years old, who are declared by the courts as being in need of care and protection; children who are awaiting the outcome of court proceedings; and families experiencing difficulties raising their children.


CAPTION: State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, the Hon. Floyd Green (2nd left), has a light moment as he navigates the Child Case Management System (CCMS) during the official launch of the software on August 16 at the Child Development Agency (CDA) headquarters, downtown Kingston. Developed by Canadian software development company, Avocette, the software allows child protection officers to upload and track cases of children, who are registered in the child protection system. Others (from left) are: Systems Administrator at the CDA, George Bowes; Project Integration Manager for Avocette, Cathy Deluca; Acting Mission Director for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Jamaica, Rebecca Robinson; Chief Executive Officer for the CDA, Rosalee Gage-Grey; and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Avocette, Scott Ross