Enterprise Case Management Application for Child Welfare
Partners: Case Commons, Indiana Department of Child Services
My Roles: Design Lead, Product Strategy, User Research, UX Design, UI Design
Casebook is an online case-management application for social services workers. Workers use Casebook to manage their day-to-day work with children and families and to capture important information about the children in their care.
Funded in part by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF), and developed collaboratively with agencies and practitioners, Casebook is built around decades of research in child welfare best practice. By helping front line workers more quickly and easily complete the extensive documentation required of them, while simultaneously providing both workers and supervisors with better tools and more timely and relevant information, Casebook promotes objective, data-informed decisions about child safety, trauma reduction, and permanency.
By taking the application from fixed-width to responsive, we've enabled busy caseworkers to enter data from the field, thereby decreasing data-entry lag time and increasing data quality and completeness.
- By adding contextual, just-in-time information and consumer product-quality visual design elements, we've enhanced the user experience while encouraging case planning and increasing child safety.
Since 2004, AECF has recognized strong social networks as one of three key components to families’ realization of well-being and successful outcomes. A child- and relationship-centric, rather than case-centric, approach is central to the Casebook model and is a key differentiator between Casebook and other case-management systems.
Case Page Highlighting Individual Children
Use of photos and a clear information hierarchy help highlight the current status and locations of individual children, making it easier to identify child-specific needs and to track the impact of case-level decisions on each child.
Genogram-Inspired Family Network Diagram
Inspired by the genogram, a common tool used by social workers to visualize family dynamics, the Family Network diagram appears throughout Casebook and helps caseworkers easily and quickly record a rich network of relationships for a child in care, as well as discover new sources of support for that child.
In many case management applications, workers use external tools for workload management and prioritization, often making critical decisions subjectively. By incorporating contextually-relevant data elements across the interface, Casebook helps support child welfare workers and policy makers in their efforts to make evidence-based decisions.
In Casebook, each Worker and Supervisor has individual dashboard tabs, customized to their workloads. Along the right hand-side of all dashboards, rolling, real-time alerts and easy to read notifications help workers prioritize among the many daily tasks competing for their attention.
Within the Cases tab, we've also added case-level alerts, signaling due or overdue action items, as well sortable inline metrics to help workers keep track of required visitations and upcoming court hearings (see “Child Visit With Parent,” “Next Sched. Court Hearing” and “FCM Contact With Child” below).
Prior to the implementation of the dashboard metrics, Federal mandates dictated that Ongoing Caseworkers (FCM’s) must see each child in their care at least once per calendar month. For the most part, workers were successfully meeting this requirement, however, due to heavy caseloads and long physical distances, the calendar month-based requirement meant that many children actually saw an FCM closer to every 60 days.
While not technically a failure to meet requirements, visiting once per calendar month often failed to fulfill on the intention of the guideline for visit frequency, which was based on evidence that more closely spaced FCM/Child contacts have a dramatically positive impact on both child well being and case outcomes. Simply by adding the “FCM Contact With Child” metric to the Case Dashboard, thus emphasizing an actual count of days between visits, rather than the calendar date of the previous visit, we have seen dramatic increases in the frequency of FCM/Child contacts.
Placements & Locations Card
For child safety and ease of contact, current child locations — including the length of time each child has been in her current location; whether she is placed with siblings; and whether she is temporarily absent from that location for any reason — are all explicitly detailed. Alerts indicate any missing locations. A click away, a detailed longitudinal history of placements and moves helps to give a realistic sense of the child’s experience while in state care.
Child Location History
Live Style Guide and Interaction Pattern Library
In order to promote consistent design and increase speed of development, we have created a live style guide and pattern library containing all repeatable visual design elements and interaction patterns throughout the application. New design patterns are added first to the library, then to the application, ensuring that all updates can be made at once and will thereby be automatically applied application-wide.
New Hotline Product, Including Inline Editing Pattern
We are in the process of developing a new product for child abuse call-center intake called Casebook Hotline. Among other features, Hotline will introduce a brand new inline editing pattern: rather than switching between a "Show" view and an "Edit" view for the entire page, as they do currently, workers will now be able to update smaller sets of information without a page reload. While this feature is still being designed and tested, we are hopeful that this change will further speed workflow and enhance data quality.