Analytics can ease the burden on social workers & help protect kids

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March is national Social Work Month and this year the National Association of Social Workers celebrates its 60th anniversary of facilitating positive social changes and improving the lives of individuals and families.

Social work is a profession that considers the needs of others every day. Individuals who dedicate themselves to a career in social work focus their time and effort on the quality of life and well-being of families, children and others in need. Social workers support society’s most vulnerable during times of crisis, poverty, abuse, mental and physical disability, and social injustice. It is a noble profession that is often overlooked and under-appreciated.

Many data sources can help improve outcomes for kids (click to enlarge)

Many data sources can help improve outcomes for kids (click to enlarge)

Case workers across our country, specifically those working with child abuse and neglect cases, often face significant challenges in protecting the children in their care. The headlines are tragic and the statistics are startling. 3 million reports of child abuse and neglect are filed in the US every year – nearly a report every 10 seconds and more than four children die every day as a result of child abuse.

Case workers are confronted with overwhelming caseloads and limited access to critical information about the children in their care. With limited resources, it becomes difficult to monitor ever-changing circumstances related to a case and to proactively identify changes in a child’s risk.   Case workers need better tools and more timely access to information to help them assess children and family situations and make decisions based on comprehensive information.

A key focus area of the SAS State and Local Government Practice this year is a commitment to improving positive outcomes for children throughout the nation. We are focusing technology efforts on minimizing negative outcomes and maximizing positive outcomes for children.

SAS technology integrates data from a variety of sources to consolidate information about a child and identify key relationships in the child’s environment. This produces an overall risk score for the child. Those data sources are monitored for changes that might affect a child’s risk score such as extended absences from school, criminal history of someone in the household, or changes in access to key social services.

The goal is to put critical insights into the hands of case workers – providing them with ready access to timely, reliable, and actionable information. It reduces the time case workers need to spend gathering data and enables more time interacting with children and their families. Organization leadership gains better insight into their case portfolio enabling better triage, assignment and resource allocation to improve the management and outcomes of their child services cases.

Social workers who protect our most vulnerable face enormous challenges every day. SAS is committed to supporting their efforts in improving the lives of these children.

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About Author

Kay Meyer

Principal Industry Consultant

Kay Meyer is a Principal Industry Consultant working with SAS’ State and Local Government practice. She brings experience, best practices and strategies to help states establish Centers for Analytics for Government Advancement. Prior to joining SAS, Kay spent 18 years in state government and led the efforts in North Carolina to set the strategic vision, definition and implementation for the North Carolina Government Data Analytics Center. Kay also led the formation of NC’s first enterprise fraud, waste, and improper payment detection program, as well as the implementation of the state’s first integrated criminal justice system, CJLEADS, which supports over 27,000 criminal justice professionals statewide. Kay holds a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from the University of Virginia and a Master of Business Administration from George Washington University.

2 Comments

  1. Cynthia Mtichell on

    Wonderful article on the work SAS is doing to utilizing their technology in helping to resolve issues that affects the most vulnerable individuals in our country, children. Socials workers are committed and face many challenges every day. The commitment of SAS and State government to support their efforts by providing technology that can meet their everyday needs is a step in the right direction.

  2. Cynthia - thank you for reading and commenting. Our team does believe that we all need to accept the challenge to make a difference in the lives of children. We are committed to helping organizations use data and technology to meet that challenge - and take that step in the right direction.

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