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Community services implements new technology

Crow Wing County Community Services has implemented social service software to streamline processes for staff and assist them in effectively managing increased caseloads.

All children's services workers have been equipped with Northwoods' Compass CoPilot for iPad to access and update case and client information in the field as well as in the office. Documentation is captured on their iPads and scanned into the case file in real time.

Because the technology does not rely on a continuous internet connection, staff are able to securely access and document cases in rural areas where connectivity can be an issue.

Faced with increased child maltreatment reports and higher out-of-home placement costs along with a desire to maintain reductions in the property tax levy, the county chose the software so staff can focus less on paperwork and spend more time with families.

The iPad technology allows staff and supervisors to work together to make quick decisions about client safety because they can instantly share and review photos and audio recordings to make assessments quickly.

The county has utilized desktop productivity solutions since 2009 in the employment and economic services division and in child support since last spring. With Compass CoPilot, case and client data that is collected at any point in the system is immediately available to all workers and processes that need it, thus automating routine tasks.

In the near future, community services will continue the progression to move other service units to utilize this technology, said Sheila Skogen, customer services division manager.

"Our goal is to ensure our agency utilizes a consistent, integrated electronic document management system with the long range goal to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and provide excellent service to all citizens in Crow Wing County," she stated in a news release.