In early 2006, the NYS Legislature and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) initiated a pilot program to test how portable information technology (now commonly called mobile technology) could be used in child protective services (CPS) casework. At the time, New York State was among a handful of states examining the use of mobile technologies to enhance child welfare service delivery. To understand and learn from the incremental deployment, OCFS partnered with CTG to conduct an assessment of each pilot period in order to answer important questions about the changes and impacts brought about by mobility in CPS work. A series of six evaluation reports focus on device selection, what makes a supportive mobile environment, and provides rich descriptions of how workers use devices to do their work.
Throughout all phases in the NYS Portable Information Technology Pilot Program for Child Protective Services the main focus is to evaluate:
More specifically, the purpose is to learn about three areas:
Phase Five includes a multi-year assessment of all caseworkers receiving laptops in NYS. It also includes a description of good implementation strategies as well as recommendations for overall strategy.
Phase IV of this project includes an in-depth study of three Local Social Service Districts to inform the development of a business case for a large-scale laptop deployment within other OCFS units. This phase also includes an assessment of mobile technologies in 33 local districts deploying in late fall 2008. Both parts are scheduled to be completed by January 2009.
Phase III of this pilot program included 23 Local Social Service Districts who submitted proposals and were granted requests to participate in the mobile technology effort. Over 400 laptops and tablets were deployed to districts throughout NYS. A final report was completed in March 2008.
Phase II of this project involved a larger scale deployment of wireless laptops to CPS workers in New York City's Administration for Children Services (ACS). The pilot ran from August – October 2007 and involved approximately 135 child protective services workers and supervisors in the Staten Island and Williams Street (Manhattan) offices. These locations were selected to include a range of work and transportation conditions encountered by CPS workers in New York City. ACS managed all deployment and training, while CTG conducted an assessment of the technology, concentrating on issues of productivity, timeliness, and workers’ satisfaction. A final report was completed in December 2007.
The first phase of the pilot program was a collaborative effort among NYS OCFS, three NYS Local Social Service Districts, and CTG. NYS OCFS coordinated the procurement and management of the Local District’s initiatives, but each district designed how the technology was tested in its own pilot. CTG conducted an individual assessment for each district. All three districts tested different technologies, which were:
Overall, the assessment extended over a four month period starting in July 2006 and ending in late October 2006. A final report was completed in November 2006.
This project was funded by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.