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.

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.

 

 

Reauthorizing the JJDPA

On September 22, 2016 the House of Representatives passed HR 5963, the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act. This bill reauthorizes the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 1974.

reauthorizing-the-jjdp-webThe bill was then sent to the Senate on September 26, 2016 and read on the floor. It was placed on the legislative calendar under General Orders. There has been no movement since then. Previously, this bill was sent to the Senate’s calendar on April 30, 2016 where it stalled until after the House passed its version earlier this month.

The last time this Act was reauthorized was in 2002 and helps states and local communities serve at-risk youth and juvenile offenders. The most recent reauthorization of the JJDPA expired in 2007.

The Senate has until the end of 2016 to take action.

The Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) described the JJDPA as “one of the most successful standard-setting statutes at the federal level and at its heart recognizes the value of citizen-driven efforts to prevent and stem delinquency. The success of the JJDPA has been supported in significant part by the national agenda-setting, research, evaluation, oversight, and technical assistance functions of OJJDP. It remains the landmark federal statute—and single most influential piece of federal legislation—providing four substantive safeguards (core protections) for youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system.”

Sources:

Coalition for Juvenile Justice Special Federal Policy Update: http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1113093459475&ca=26c99ea5-2719-449f-abbd-64c5aed4d4ed

Congressman Bobby Scott: https://bobbyscott.house.gov/media-center/press-releases

Congress.gov: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5963/all-actions?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22juvenile+delinquency%22%5D%7D&resultIndex=2&overview=closed#tabs

Coalition for Juvenile Justice Reauthorization of the JJDPA: http://www.juvjustice.org/juvenile-justice-and-delinquency-prevention-act/reauthorization-jjdpa

 

RiteTrack

Linking JDAI standards to RiteTrack

annie-e-caseyThe JDAI helpdesk website states, “Since 1992, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has demonstrated that jurisdictions can safely reduce reliance on secure confinement and generally strengthen their juvenile justice systems through a series of interrelated reform strategies.”

As you may know, I was a former Director of the Perry Multi County Juvenile Facility (a juvenile community ACAcorrection facility in Ohio) and our focus was on treatment of juvenile, male felons through a cognitive-based treatment program. I do want to point out that I am not an expert in Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative (JDAI) standards; however, in my current position with Handel I have become DOJ-OJPmuch more familiar with them. JDAI standards closely align with the American Correctional Association (ACA) standards and they incorporate the Prison Rape Elimination Standards (PREA) as well. Both the ACA and PREA standards are areas that I am very familiar with having completed two ACA audits and a PREA audit.

As revealed in the JDAI Detention Reform Brief Cost-Saving Approach, some of the JDAI strategies are to increase system efficiency, develop a non-secure alternative that is less expensive than detention, help keep kids out of state facilities and help explore the most cost-saving intervention for a youth. From my experience in a juvenile facility, I know first-hand the ease with which the juvenile correction community easily faults to the “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it…” or “That’s just the way it’s done.” I was a process-oriented director and one of my skills was to always look at why we do something and if we could do it better. I think that is why I am intrigued to learn (from my exploration of JDAI) that a focus seems to be to look at problem solving differently and to focus on different options and outcomes beyond the traditional way of committing youth to detention.

However, I am not here to give you more information about the JDAI standards. I want to tell you about a software solution that can greatly help facilities recognize and implement the JDAI strategies in their communities and better manage their cases and facilities as well. This solution is RiteTrack and it is juvenile facility software that assists in 2016 JJ Reportsmanaging your facility and the youth in that facility. It is equipped with a powerful reporting module that can incorporate many of the JDAI required reports. Additionally RiteTrack can also assist the JDAI local community that is responsible for entering, collecting and generating data to address compliance with the JDAI standards. RiteTrack is a software system that tracks common functions like incident, restraint and room confinement documentation, along with common practices of treatment plans, group notes and room assignments. RiteTrack excels as a facility and youth management system while allowing you to generate JDAI data not only from a juvenile facility level but also to a functionality level that compiles JDAI data for a whole JDAI community.

I will focus on three points about RiteTrack and JDAI: generating and managing data, using data to make decisions and managing the facility.

Point 1: Generating and Managing Data

Data is an essential component of JDAI, and it only makes sense that you have to generate data as the first step before you can analyze and use that data. While JDAI encourages the person or persons who share(s) the responsibility of data generating to use the simple format of Excel, it is not the most effective or efficient method. JDAI might recommend Excel because so many people have access to it; and in a JDAI community, the data come from many different areas and levels. Data generation has to occur at the probation officer level, the court level, the community alternative placement level, detention level and other agencies such as community mental health or community drug and alcohol treatment organizations that may be involved with the youth. So there is a possibility that you have many different organizations collecting data that then have to be transferred or given to one centralized “data collector” to process and manage. RiteTrack can play a very important role in this “collection” by acting as the central point of entry.

2016 Face Sheet

RiteTrack allows youth to be entered into the system and then additional data added to the youth’s record. Once information is added to RiteTrack then it is saved and will stay with the youth throughout his/her involvement in the process, even including if the youth is placed in an alternative placement or detention. Data such as race, gender, age, geography, prior placements, prior and current criminal offence, offence type, involvement with child welfare, involvement with substance abuse treatment and length of stay in detention are all areas in which data needs to be collected for JDAI standards. RiteTrack offers all those components as standards within the basic RiteTrack system, so a youth’s record in RiteTrack can contain all this information (generated by various agencies involved with the youth) in one record in one place. Additional areas that are important such as risk assessments, which are done either on paper or in another system, can be added to the RiteTrack system so that all information that is collected on a youth is stored and accessible in a centralized data collection location. This whole set of data can be recalled or opened at any time by qualified RiteTrack users. RiteTrack is a web-based solution that is easily accessible with internet access, so long as the user passes security clearances set up in each facility system.

Point 2: Using Data in Making Decisions

We all are aware of the trends in juvenile justice to use evidence-based practices to make decisions based on data. Decisions should not be based on how we feel or what is available, but they should be objective tools to assess level of risk. JDAI suggests that we evaluate data on a regular basis (e.g., daily population counts of youth in detention, quarterly reports and continual review of the data collected such as race, gender, age and geography). Therefore, data must be gathered and analyzed throughout the process and throughout the community that is involved in the JDAI. Data analysis can help shareholders decide when and if an effective community-based alternative would be appropriate. Data analysis can assure that detention is used only when appropriate and only for those youth that are high risk of reoffending. Data can assist in determining bias in the system based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and geography, among others; and determine if there is “institutional bias” within the system. Only when we see the data over a period of time can we make good decisions.

RiteTrack allows for all data, generated by a JDAI community to be stored in a centralized location and readily available to help in the decision-making process and JDAI reporting. Such a system is more cost effective and more efficient, and allows easier tabulation of data, which facilitates a better, more streamline decision process for the youth in a JDAI community.

2015 Juvenile Admission Statistics

Since RiteTrack is also facility software, data generated from youth being in the facility (i.e., number of incident reports, number of restraints, time in room confinement, number of hours of group participation, and facility population reports) can also be used to make decisions and determine a youth’s progress while in the facility itself.

Point 3: Managing a Facility

To participate in JDAI a facility must track and report on the following: race, ethnicity, gender, age, geography, placement history, child welfare involvement, mental health, substance abuse, education, family history, housing, prior offences, probation status, offence and offence type, aggravating factors and length of stay in detention.

2014-Demographics-Report

RiteTrack tracks all of these data points. Each of these points are collected and tracked via drop-down menu options that are accessible and may be customized by a system administrator. In addition, many of these points have models in RiteTrack that allow for input of descriptive narratives. For example, tracking aggravating factors would most likely involve a short story or description of the aggravating factors. Workers unfamiliar with a youth would need to see what led to, or what is being described as the aggrieving factor in the incident entry. Therefore, through progress notes, RiteTrack tracks the number of incidents as well as descriptive elements.

Finally, in addition to collecting, tracking and reporting all the youth personal and participation data for a facility, RiteTrack also functions as a case management and facility management module. RiteTrack, as a case management system, encompasses treatment plans, progress notes and demographic information. As a facility management system it includes functions such as shift reporting, inventory management and incident, restraint and room-confinement reporting. RiteTrack complies with the common practices of attaching pictures, reports, video clips or tabulation of hours and minutes of room confinement time to the data entries. RiteTrack also provides a due process model, which is required for grievances, and which demonstrates compliance with due process related to major incidents within a facility. The RiteTrack design of both a case management model and facility model incorporated into one solution, allows for data reporting from both “parts” of the RiteTrack system.

RiteTrack offers the ability to generate data for the JDAI community while also serving its primary focus as juvenile facility software that manages a facility and the youth within the facility. Doing all this as a single software system, RiteTrack is an effective, efficient and cost-saving approach for any community and facility participating in the JDAI standards.

To see a demonstration of the RiteTrack system and to see how RiteTrack can assist your organization or community in compliance with the JDAI standards, please give me a call at 740-994-0500 or send me an e-mail with any question you may have at steve.koenig@handelit.com

May 2-4, 2017; Arkansas Juvenile Detention Association (AJDA) Conference; Little Rock, AR

May 4-5; 2017 Ohio Juvenile Detention Directors Association (OJDDA) Conference; Lewis Center, OH

May 17-19, 2017; Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association (NJJA) Annual Conference; Kearney, NE

May 21-26, 2017; The 38th National Indian and Native American Employment and Training Conference/Public Law 102-477 Training; Los Angeles, CA

May 22-23, 2017; Ohio Wardens and Superintendents Association (OWSA) Annual Training Conference; Millersburg, OH