Kitsap County Juvenile and Family Court Services Goes Live on New RiteTrack Case Management System

RiteTrackKitsap County Juvenile Family and Court Services went live on a RiteTrack system in January 1, 2017. This implementation represents the culmination of years of work and planning to create a system that spans data from three areas: juvenile detention, youth offenders, and non-offenders.

Juvenile detention cases encompass sentenced youth or youth brought in by law enforcement. Youth offender cases cover drug courts and diversion efforts while non-offender cases deal with children in need of services (CHINS), at-risk youth (ARY), child protective services (CPS), and truancies. With all of this juvenile case management information centralized, the ease that staff can provide services to has been bolstered.

The County signed a contract with Handel in April of 2016 and many of the staff worked diligently on defining the scope and working closely with the designated Project Manager to outline processes to incorporate into the system. Project Manager Ben McKay said “our success is based on our partners, and the dedication from Kitsap’s team helped ensure the successful implementation of this project.”

Kitsap County Juvenile Family and Court Services uses RiteTrack’s standard functionality and also configured the system to meet specific needs and create specialized reports. One of the most valuable reports is the juvenile year-over-year comparison that aggregates data from the system including the length of stay and demographics to provide a big picture of trending changes and generates data to submit to the state of Washington for reporting purposes.

In order to recognize the hard work and diligence that went into a successful project of this scope, the County held a celebration February 16, 2017. (Read our blog about it here) We’re so pleased to have developed a strong, working relationship with the leadership and staff at Kitsap County Juvenile Family and Court Services.

Kitsap County’s Juvenile Department/Superior Court is committed to providing innovative, comprehensive, and effective services to youth, families, schools and the community within a quality work environment, by professional, caring staff.

Handel creates RiteTrack, a web-based, centralized database, information management software that is used by juvenile justice agencies throughout the country. It provides the primary means for caseworkers, administrators and other professionals to manage their clients and caseloads and provides reliable reporting to generate reliable data.


Improving Processes and Creating a Successful Implementation for Kitsap County Juvenile and Family Court Services

It all began with a conference presentation on OneNote and a question.

“This could be described as a ‘textbook project,” said Bud Harris, Director, Information Services. “It began at the right place, the right time, with the right thought processes, and all the right people came together.”

The concept that grew into the Kitsap County Juvenile Family and Court Services RiteTrack Case Management System came from the question: what if involved youths’ records could be better managed and the information shared between programs?

Michael Merringer, Juvenile Court Administrator, became involved with probation in the 1990s and found that common practices for managing youth records created segregated, unreliable information. Every time a juvenile came into detention, they would make a new paper file for them that would include assessments, medical history, and recommended programming which could not be easily shared nor was it common to share cross-department.

However, following the seemingly commonplace OneNote presentation, Merringer had a flash of insight. Wouldn’t it be great if they operated with ONE file for ONE kid? All forms would be carried in that file, staff would have access, various people could contribute, and everyone would have access to the information they needed (subject to appropriate security restrictions) while keeping everything up-to-date.

This was the vision that blossomed into the carefully planned, meticulously implemented project with an overall goal of improving access, security and accuracy of client information, examining and improving internal processes, and providing reliable, statistical data.

Sometimes projects also provide unintended benefits. Merringer said the RiteTrack project had such a benefit: process improvement. The key philosophy applied in this project was to look at the process first before applying the technology. The staff improved processes during the mapping phase by cutting out redundant efforts and wasted activity. Mapping processes across multiple departments created a visual representation of how each department dealt with their processes and cases, and was valuable because it provided visuals of the processes to assist in directing the technology. Because of this project, the Department can monitor processes and continually improve them to better meet the needs of staff, too.

After defining many internal processes, the department went to look at available options for juvenile justice information management systems. As with most system explorations options included building in-house, buying off-the-shelf, or some combination thereof. To find how other jurisdictions managed their juvenile data they visited other counties in the state and kept hearing about the RiteTrack Juvenile Justice Software from Handel IT. Because they defined processes prior to searching for a solution, they were able to use them to match process flows with available offerings.

Following the review of available options, the Department found that RiteTrack offered the combination of an off-the-shelf solution paired with configuration capabilities that could create a solution to perfectly fit the diligently outlined processes. After a competitive bidding process in 2015, RiteTrack and Handel were chosen as the solution and vendor for this project.

“Over several years a group of dedicated individuals accepted the challenge of creating an electronic environment for case management for the Department. Members of the team came from every area of the County and Juvenile Department. Working together as a team, the successful development of the Juvenile Department’s RiteTrack Case Management System was realized,” the Department’s launch party invitation read.

Kitsap County went live on its new RiteTrack Juvenile Case Management system on January 1, 2017. A celebration of the successful implementation and go-live took place in the offices of the Kitsap County Juvenile Court Administration on February 16.  Handel is pleased to partner with the Department and provide the tools to help create its ideal data management solution for its involved youth.


Handel has Opening for Junior Software Developer

Handel has an opening for a Junior Software Developer. Click here for more details: http://www.handelit.com/about/job-openings/junior-software-engineer/


Relationship between RiteTrack and Disproportionate Minority Contact

When reviewing DMC aspects, in my mind I kept coming back to the issue of how much needs to be encompassed when implementing and maintaining DMC standards into a juvenile justice program. These standards incorporate assessments, evaluation, and monitoring of juveniles in care. However, DMC doesn’t only apply to youth in detention. It really incorporates all areas of youth contact within the juvenile justice continuum of care.

Example of statistical report with DMC data.

Often DMC communities may have an alternative reporting center within it. I’m curious to see how information is communicated between one part in the juvenile justice continuum of care with another part. There is the potential for an enormous amount of time to be spent creating policies that address information sharing parameters, managing confidential information, and memorandums of understanding between these organizations. Even though data points like race, ethnicity, gender, geography, and offenses seem straightforward, these would likely need to be clearly defined with consensus from members of the continuum of care.

So how can organizations or programs in the juvenile justice continuum of care address information challenges like these? Using a web-based software like RiteTrack as the single-point-of-entry tool provides the framework from which programs can support the youth and the stakeholders.

Risk Assessment tool in the solution.

For a community to address DMC, there has to be involvement from shareholders in the community.  There has to be planning and agreement on issues. Organizations must develop intervention that involves programming. Agencies need to evaluate whether the agreed upon plan is working. Finally, programs must be monitored to make sure that identified problems area continued to be addressed.  Within all of these steps, the most important area may be the collection of data because youth data is pervasive in all these steps.  RiteTrack collects data that occurs throughout all point of the juvenile justice continuum from first point-of-contact, risk assessment, community involvement, and if needed detention. In addition to extensive documentation, RiteTrack quickly generates reports and statistical data based on real-time data that is accurate and reliable. Implementing RiteTrack into operations is not just a procurement or download of another piece of software. It is a partnership with Handel IT to enhance and improve communities, not only by supporting a continuum of care, but also by creating a central point-of-entry to provide the framework to address DMC issues.

To see my most recent webcast reviewing DMC functionality and reporting in RiteTrack, click here and register to watch the recording.

 

 


Happy Holidays from Handel IT

It is again that time of the year when I look back and reflect on the year that was. First and foremost, I want to thank those of you we have worked with in 2016 and the many of you who are entertaining the idea of implementing RiteTrack in your juvenile, TANF, child welfare, or other social services program in the year to come. We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with you and we want to thank you for working with us and even more importantly I want to thank you for the difference you are making in the lives of the people that you help. I sleep well at night knowing that RiteTrack is a playing part in making sure hundreds of thousands of people are getting the best services that they can get for their needs.


It has been a tumultuous year in our country and in the world. The Presidential Election here in the U.S. certainly was different than any other election we have seen in recent history. Globally, hardly a day passes where we don’t read about another terror attack. For most of us, these unimaginable acts of hate are beyond comprehension.  While we are not entirely free of terror here on US ground, I do believe we live in a very safe country. Of course, from my perspective in Laramie, Wyoming, the least populous state in the union, my viewpoint may be just a bit biased. As somebody who grew up in Norway, another country often ranked high for quality of life and other measures, I will argue that the United States is still one of the greatest countries in the world. This is still the land of opportunity. It is a land where we welcome ideas and support those who have ideas. With the perspective of almost 30 years in this country it is interesting to think that coming here as foreigner in 1988 and barely spoke English, only 9 years later, I had finished two degrees, worked for another entrepreneurial startup, and then started Handel IT in 1997. I can think of many other places in our world where such a series of events simply would not be able to unfold.  We still continue to deal with a large number of challenges on our home front such as growing income inequality, a broken health care system, rising drug problems, slipping rankings on education, and increasing terrorist threats. I still believe when taken as a whole, our nation offers perhaps one of the best frameworks for individuals to succeed. We continue to rank high nationally in quality of life rankings, such as the one published by Numbeo https://www.numbeo.com/quality-of-life/rankings_by_country.jsp.


Looking at all the social services programs that we work with nationally, I remain in awe of the services that our clients provide to the people that they serve. In 2016 we have added several new customers, especially in the area of Tribal TANF (temporary assistance for needy families). You have probably heard me joke before that Rocket Science has nothing on TANF when it comes to complexity. In order to run a successful TANF program a Tribe (or a State for that matter) has to keep track of thousands of data points on each family that they serve. Calculating eligibility and keeping track of funding, measuring outcomes, and making sure allocations are being made according to all rules, are but a few of the tasks that a modern TANF program has to contend with. Doing so without a system like RiteTrack would be near impossible. It is such an honor for us to work with all these programs across the nation. One thing is resting assured that we are helping our customers with these very complex tasks. Even more important though are the services that our clients are providing to the families and individuals that they serve. More so than anything else, this is what I am the most proud of when it comes to Handel’s accomplishments. We want to thank you all for working with us in 2016. We are looking forward to continuing working with you and to add new customers to the RiteTrack family in 2017. Next year we will also be celebrating our 20th anniversary. Time flies when you are having fun. Until then I want to wish you the Happiest of Holidays and a Happy New Year!

-Even