Organizations dedicated to managing the personal progress of clients don’t just need a lot of heart. They need tools to ensure that information is accurate and that program participants are not falling through the cracks. That’s where the intersection between data and services is most important. And when data is easy to track, upload, share and report, a magical thing happens—improved
services for more people.
For Garden of Prayer Youth Center (GOPYC), a faith-based, nonprofit child welfare agency licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services, learning more deeply about the community’s needs happens one person and family at a time. Their ultimate goal is to “keep families together” through a slate of quality mental health and educational services, including:
GOPYC strives to instill hope in children and to work towards communities of strong, loving families. To do this, the organization is committed to providing specialized, individual attention that requires a significant level of data management, compliance and outcomes reporting, and a clear demonstration of community impact. GOPY depends on the accurate reporting of progress to make sure no need is left unfulfilled.
The population that GOPYC serves is many times in a state of crisis. Kids with emotional, psychological or behavioral issues need specialized support scaffolded by access to real-time information. This information is critical in providing immediate support services designed to keep kids in crisis and the community safe.
More paperwork means less time spent quickly getting kids into a safer situation. With the Apricot 360 batching feature, inputting information into client files has been reduced from about ten minutes to two minutes—that’s an 80% savings in time. Saving these precious minutes, as when police are called, can help reduce safety threats and minimize negative interactions. Plus, caseworkers spend more time with kids understanding their immediate needs.
As GOPYC began to grow, the organization made an important discovery: managing participant notes using paper just wasn’t the best way to get things done. Case managers and administrators spent a lot of time physically finding information because some of their sites were operating remotely. In some cases, staff would drive 20 to 30 minutes just to get a paper file.
During every shift, a staff member is required to provide a communication log for each client. This activity entailed manually writing notes and typing information for each client separately. Team members couldn’t refer back to those logs quickly—notes other staff couldn’t access or see.
Before Social Solutions, it would take approximately five minutes per child to log the appropriate data. And if a shift has fifteen kids, that’s seventy-five minutes of administrative work. Now, staff can log the same amount of information for all fifteen kids in just two minutes. That’s progress.
Now, GOPYC can easily see case notes and make essential modifications to a participant’s program. Every shift can refer to the previous logs to get the most up-to-date information without rifling through stacks of paperwork. After implementing Apricot 360, they could save valuable staff time and money on gas by getting information quickly by accessing simple PDF files.
“What makes Social Solutions stick out as a platform over other tech options is that you can customize it for the work that you do. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. You don’t have to be dependent on an outside organization to make those adjustments for you, which puts the power to manage information back in your hands.”MIKKAL HARRIS, M.A., L.C.P.C., C.W.E.L, DIRECTOR OF CLINICAL SERVICES
Like many service organizations, GOPYC had to undergo multiple audits for accreditation purposes. They are licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services and accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (C.A.R.F.) Before using Social Solutions, it would take around two weeks to gather all of the appropriate information. It’s a critical process because tracking and reporting on participant numbers, including how many served and progress indicators, is also required.
For example, GOPYC must complete a facility audit checklist to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. They could use Social Solutions’ platform to ensure that every one of their six sites follows all the required guidelines. These include checking that there are no cracks in the sidewalks, wires are not exposed, and wheelchair access is in good working order, among other requirements. With Social Solutions’ customized software, administrators can track this through a checklist to yield a comprehensive report submitted to the accrediting body. Now, with Social Solutions, reporting these complex requirements does not take weeks. It takes minutes.
“With Social Solutions, we can sleep better at night knowing we can press a button and can find what you need to know without making a thousand phone calls and sending people to go get it. Because of that, we can keep adding more and more information and not have to worry about it.”MIKKAL HARRIS, M.A., L.C.P.C., C.W.E.L, DIRECTOR OF CLINICAL SERVICES
A prominent part of the GOPYC mission is to place youth in programs that will best serve them. With rich, timely information, administrators can provide better placements and allow them to plan for a child’s long-term future. For example, specific benchmarks need to be proven to refer a client to an independent living program. Instead of the laborious and time-consuming task of writing long narratives, Apricot 360 administrators can simply access a file and deliver documentation that demonstrates all relevant outcomes. This might include data points like grade point averages, compliance statistics and other data that show positive progress.
The sheer volume of cases provides inherent challenges both in the delivery of services and in monitoring the best practices of staff managing client caseloads. Inconsistencies in reporting endanger the service process and can lead to kids potentially falling through the cracks.
Apricot 360 isn’t just about tracking the outcomes of the clients they serve. This powerful data management and analytic tool empower GOPYC to measure and track the efficiency of their operations. The organizations can more easily identify inconsistencies in reporting, and leadership can better coach staff. As a result, the culture has evolved and shifted to adopt a team accountability and growth mindset that looks to staff to improve their processes and widen their perspectives. In other words, the challenging child is not a “problem” to be solved but, rather, an opportunity for a collaborative and positive relationship.
GOPYC has learned that software and data management is not cold and impersonal. It’s quite the opposite. With the right tool—Apricot 360—humanity and compassion can be multiplied through the power of data. While the comprehensive, accurate reporting allows GOYPC to gain accreditation, source additional funding and implement new programs, the data does so much more. Dynamic information helps the organization to identify biases that generate actionable and equitable changes within the organization. That’s about as human as it can get.
Garden of Prayer Youth Center has a mission to provide services to children and families to help them stay together and thrive amidst adversity. Their goals are clear but administering to the community requires a time-consuming level of data management, organization and distribution. But by partnering with Social Solutions, GOPYC can focus even more on its core mission, with more significant insights into the specific needs of each participant.
Specifically, Social Solutions has helped Garden of Prayer Youth Center to:
Their data quality has improved, and their time collecting, organizing and reporting have been greatly reduced.
Now, they can access data efficiently and in a fraction of the time.
The organization can better identify potential gaps with individual participant’s programs and address challenges using data insights.
This allows them to gain end-to-end views into meaningful data and stay in control without waiting for third-party assistance.
It’s easier now to harness data for more comprehensive reporting to prove impact and secure long-term funding.
With Social Solutions, GOYPC has a unified set of measures and can share more accurate data quickly.
All of their case information, planning and delivery are in one easily accessible place. Administrators can cross-reference case notes with actual outcomes making managing teams less stressful and more streamlined.
“As we grow and expand programs and locations, we’ve determined that using paper to track data does not work. With Apricot 360, we can break down information by each site, enabling us to continue to do our work efficiently. Social Solutions technology removes multiple steps in our tracking and reporting processes. As we grow, we’ll be able to implement our programs in much better ways.”KRISTI MCBRIDE, M.B.A.; DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATIVE OPERATIONS
As an organization, GOPYC is conducting extraordinary work in the communities they serve. Part of the evolution of their story is transitioning from an analog world of filling out forms, sharing physical files and typing notes to a state-of-the-art experience that empowers people to do even better work.
By adopting the customizable Social Solutions’ Apricot 360 program, GOPYC saves valuable time that they can now spend doing the work they’re meant to do. Communicating vital participant information within the organization has resulted in a more informed staff, new leadership protocols, and a dynamic ability to track participant progress and quickly make appropriate adjustments to meet their needs better. That’s good for staff, managers and supervisors.
Each team member can look at client progress either in the same room through a projected screen or entirely remotely. All the information is there. And with their growth projections, including expanding to even more sites, virtually sharing data in real-time has become an even higher priority. Valuable staff time will no longer be devoted to traveling to numerous locations to gather client data.
With the Social Solutions’ infrastructure in place, the need to keep up with vital paperwork necessary for accreditation has been replaced with a seamless reporting process administrators can activate on demand. With more time to serve clients and less time needed on administrative tasks, GOPYC is now discussing possible areas to expand programs, including Arizona, Florida and Texas. With the ability to track staff activities and client progress from anywhere, the country is wide open. The organization wants to expand its clinical and educational services, including adding another daycare program, an education program and more clinical services.
Social Solutions also allows GOPYC to track important quantitative outcomes, including every dime spent on individual client services, as well as all programmatic initiatives. Administrators believe this new level of accountability and transparency will lead to securing additional contracts.
For GOPYC, adopting Social Solutions’ data management platform has given them the freedom to gain critical insights into the vital work staff is conducting, pivot and expand services where needed, effortlessly report for compliance and expansion and reduce paperwork. That’s how this garden grows.
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