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.