Kitsap County Talks About RiteTrack

Kitsap County went live on RiteTrack in January 2017. In this video clip, Michael Merringer, Director of the Kitsap County Juvenile Court Administration talks about the implementation of RiteTrack, it’s impact so far, and what it is like to work with Handel.


Tracking Tribal TANF Outcomes in RiteTrack Webinar Recording Available

Our recent webinar demonstrating ways RiteTrack tracks and reports on TANF outcomes was very popular. If you missed it, a now available as a recording, click here to access. 

During this short but information filled session we explored how RiteTrack provides insight on

  • Education goals
  • Employment goals
  • Changes in employment and income
  • Pregnancy statistics
  • One- and two-parent households

Access to the recording is free, and if you would like to find out how RiteTrack can improve your service delivery and outcome tracking please contact Handel Information Technologies for further information or to schedule a discussion or personal online demonstration.


Handel at 20 -Technology Evolution Over the Past 2 Decades

Note: This is one in a series of stories written at the 20th anniversary of Handel Information Technologies.

In the history of mankind, 20 years is merely a blink of an eye. In the history of information technology, 20 years represents an eternity. As Handel is turning 20 I find myself in a reflective mood. Going back to July 1997, the month Handel was incorporated, the world was in many ways not that different from what it is today. Yet, when it comes to technology, it would be difficult for a human being time-traveling from 1997 to 2017 to recognize our world today.

Here are a few examples of some technologies we take for granted today that were non-existent in 1997:
  • Always-on Internet access in all but the most rural areas
  • Super computers that you can carry in your pockets (which among other things also happens be a phone, a camera, a video conferencing system, and a music player)
  • Instant access to all information ever created including movies, TV shows, music, and books.
  • Ability to broadcast yourself to the world at the click of a button
  • The ability to buy anything from your phone and have it show up at your door the next day

These are but a few of the things we take for granted today that would have been foreign to a human being, ca. 1997. Oh, did I mention self-driving cars?

In the mid- to late 1990s I remember technology leaders of the era (including Bill Gates who later admitted he and Microsoft were late to recognize the significance of the Internet) predicting how the Internet would change how we live. I don’t think most of us from that era could have predicted where we would be today. It wasn’t just the Internet that enabled the radical transformation we experience today. It was a combination of several factors. Continuously faster and cheaper processing power making computing power increasingly more affordable. The evolution of extremely compact computers moving from the desktop into our pockets. The evolution of wireless networks allowing you to be connected from anywhere. The development of social networking, enabling information sharing in a completely different ways than we have seen before. Software moving from desktop to the web.

In the late 1990s, before most people had broadband internet and little government data were available online, we published annual property assessment databases on CD ROMs which made it much easier for realtors to look up  property values. 

The result is that the majority of human beings in the industrialized world now owns a smartphone and is always connected to the Internet. Compare this to 1997 when according to the U.S. Census,  36% of US housholds owned a computer and 18% were connected to the Internet. Of note, 1997 appears to be the first year the Census Bureau measured the latter statistic. Thinking back to the summer of 1997, I was starting Handel in my basement, my wife and I owned one desktop computer and a laptop. We accessed the Internet with a dial-up modem, which gave us just enough speed to read news, check e-mail, and check mostly text-based websites. This week I installed a new wireless network in my house. I was surprised when I counted the number of unique IP addresses in my home. As mentioned, in 1997 I had two computers in my house. Apparently, our family now has 28 electronic devices each with a unique IP address. That may seem high, but when you think about a) our family has grown to include 3 more individuals that it had in ’97, each individual has their own computer, tablet, and phone, there are devices like printers and scanners that connect wirelessly, there are other devices like Amazon Echo’s, Apple TVs, Raspberry Pies, Kindles, media players. etc. Forward this another 10 years and I believe every electronic device in our home from lightbulbs, thermostats, applicances, vehicles, to other devices yet to be invented, will all be connected to the web.

This transformation that we have seen in the past 20 years I would argue is as revolutionary as when humans developed the first language some 100,000 years and when Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1440. What distinguishes us humans from other mammals is the way we can communicate with each other and thereby share knowledge. Each new human being born, inherits all this knowledge from all humans that lived before. The changes we have seen these past 20 years simply accelerates this information sharing to a new level.

What has Handel’s impact been for our customers and our industry over these past 20 years? Starting out, we were really just a consulting company, developing custom solutions wherever we could find work. It wasn’t until 2001 that we focused on making RiteTrack and government social services our primary focus. In 2008 we developed the first web-based version of RiteTrack and the next year we started experimenting with web-hosting. Today, the vast majority of our clients are on a web version of RiteTrack, and about 50% is being hosted in our data center. We expect to continue to see our clients moving their data into cloud infrastructure. While slower to change than consumers and business clients, government is recognizing the efficiencies gained from web-based technologies in a hosted environment. While government resources are often limited, demands for services continues to grow. As such, our customers have to find ways to do more with less. We believe that one of the keys to doing less with more is by more intelligent deployment of technical solutions. RiteTrack is well positioned to help our clients and future customers in accomplishing this goal. Ultimately, our job is to give our customers better tools so that they can provide better services to the clients that they serve. Regardless of technology evolution, RiteTrack is ultimately about helping those in need and that is what I expect we will still do 20 years from now.


Software for Tribal Court Webcast Encore

If you were unable to attend the recent webinar on how RiteTrack is used in Tribal Courts, you can view a recording here.

During this webcast Casey discusses how RiteTrack manages

  • Case Tracking
    • Civil
    • Criminal
  • Tribal Charges
  • Hearings and Legal Actions
  • Case Notes
  • Staff Assignment
  • Related Documents
  • System Reporting

Functionality included in the Tribal Court module includes client, staff charge, and case management. RiteTrack can be configured for the specific case types, hearings and charges of any Tribe. The system also offers an array of standard reports including rap sheets, case summaries, and statistical reports which can be used for CTAS and other grant reporting.

Click here to view the RiteTrack for Tribal Court webcast.

You can also view any of our previous webcasts by requesting a link from us. Email info@handelit.com with requests or any questions you have regarding our Tribal Court module or other software solutions.

 

 


Embracing Technology in the Juvenile Justice Field

Many organizations and those working in them feel anxious when starting to evaluate or implement a technology project. This anxiety may center around implementing the new technology and ensuring that the day-to-day users will accept and use the technology. Technology should be selected and implemented to ultimately help improve services and efficiency for the organization.

I hosted a webinar during which I examined common issues that arise when implementing new technology and pointed out four main aspects that every organization should address when trying to help users or organizations embrace technology. It’s an important topic to evaluate when considering a new system.

The webinar provided valuable information that administrators can use to help alleviate any resistance they face. One of the most important points to remember is to involve the users, line staff, data entry specialists, or other integral parties in the implementation process. If administrators can get the staff to buy in and embrace the new technology, then the likelihood of a successful implementation and a positive experience is higher.

I am reminded of a saying “junk in will equal junk out.” Meaning if staff are not entering information into the system as it is designed, then the outcomes will not be what is expected. During the webcast, I provided practical steps every agency can use to overcome resistance to embracing technology and highlighted the benefits of incorporating technology into operations.

Please view the recorded webinar here to learn some practical steps and points that will assist you in embracing and successfully implementing technology in your organization.


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/