In a recent user group hosted by Social Solutions, violence survivor organizations came together to discuss relevant topics to their work, including how they use data and our case management software’s tools to better serve their participants.
We learned from these experts that creativity is critical in helping survivors, having a centralized database is important, and our software’s reporting capabilities help teams run more efficiently.
Watch the full user group and keep reading below for our key takeaways.
Violence survivors are in delicate and deeply personal circumstances. Organizations serving this vulnerable population must often take a creative and mindful approach when reaching this group and supporting them in getting the help they need. Jo Estrada, director of social services for Harris County in the Houston area, learned this firsthand in her former role as community impact director in Bexar County near San Antonio.
While working in Bexar County, her department started using Social Solutions’ Apricot solution to collect online applications and documentation for utility assistance from low-income residents. In one application, she suspected the resident was trying to seek help for something entirely different from utilities.
“When they uploaded the documents, they uploaded photos of injuries,” Jo said. “Obviously, that person was trying to seek assistance—they were trying to find help.”
This one application led her to try an experiment with Apricot software’s online form for utilities. She added a question on the application that asked, “Are you a victim of intimate partner violence?” Staff members were able to configure a pop-up in the software that would ask the resident if they wanted to be contacted if their answer to that question was, “Yes.”
“It was shocking,” Jo said. “We started seeing a lot of people answer the question, and we were able to get resources for several people who were too afraid to go to a traditional hotline. What we heard over and over was that it was easier for them to disguise that outreach through a utility assistance application.”
Through Apricot, the Bexar County department worked with other departments such as Child Protective Services and the justice system, which allowed staffers in their department to cross-reference the applications with data in the system. This powerful story shows the impact of online software on the ability to meet people in some of the most sensitive situations.
Using that same software, Jo’s team was also able to monitor the impact their services had on those people.
“Everything is about data, right? We have to be able to prove outcomes so that we can ask for money,” Jo said. “We could say, ‘We helped 5,000 people,’ but now we have to show what the outcomes were.”
That’s where tracking comes in.
“How long were they able to stay free from violence? Were they able to build financial capability?” Jo said. “And the only way that we can show that is by tracking the data and partnering with other organizations and departments in the community.”
With comprehensive software like Apricot, you can ensure there are no gaps in the data points you want to track. Apricot keeps everything in a central place so you can glean insight into your organization’s outcomes, and our reporting capabilities make it easier than ever to conceptualize that data.
Nike Blue—who oversees client data management system compliance, reporting, and quality assurance and improvement activities at Houston Area Women’s Center—attested to Apricot’s visualization tools to create management reports.
“The management report gives leaders a quick snapshot of all of their team members, how many clients the case managers are serving, and because of the flexibility of Apricot, they can drill down into specific team members,” Nike said. “It’s helped our supervisors better assess their team as a whole and then even drill down into the strengths or the areas of improvement for individual team members.”
While creating databases and reporting systems is important on the management level, it’s also critical to get your frontline workers to embrace those systems. Robert Lopez is an ETO user through Social Solutions who works in the client services department at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, which supports LGBTQ and HIV-infected survivors of violence. Lopez noted that he strives to ensure that every frontline staffer understands and believes that data helps them in their role.
“Data is not a hindrance. It feels sometimes like it’s this extra ominous thing that has to be done, but everything that they put into the database is a benefit to them,” he said. “It has to be easy for your employees to use. It has to make sense. It’s got to flow, and it’s got to remind your staffers to do things.”
The intuitive nature of Social Solutions’ software makes it easy for you to get your staff on board. And once you get buy-in from your staff members, you can let our software help you do the work of better serving your community. Learn more today.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can call 1-800-799-7233 or chat with a representative from the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7.
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