Cayuga County Legislature OKs Social Service Software

The new software system, approved last week, will streamline access to information and digitize the work done by case workers through the New York county’s Department of Social Services.

by Ryan Franklin, The Citizen / December 17, 2018
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(TNS) — The Cayuga County Legislature Thursday approved a contract for a new software system for social services workers that officials said will greatly improve efficiency and efficacy.

The approved resolution authorizes Director of Community Services Ray Bizzari to enter into a contract with Northwoods for a software solution that digitizes Department of Social Services case files.

Where case workers — or anyone else who might need the information like DSS attorneys — currently need to go to department offices and sift through case files that can be thousands of pages, according to Bizzari, the new system would make them easily searchable and accessible in the field.

Having immediate access to that information or the ability to upload new information would not only greatly improve efficiency but help department staff make better decisions, Bizzari said.

For example, if a caseworker needed to remove a child from a home and relatives offered to take them, the caseworker could remotely access records to vet the family or determine if any medical needs warranted a different placement, Bizzari said.

"We'll have everything at our fingertips," Bizzari said.

The Legislature's approval Thursday came after almost three years of trying from the department. In that time, the service had actual improved, Bizarri said, noting that the software is now cloud-based instead of a much costlier county-hosted server system.

In a last-minute negotiations before the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee meeting last week, County Administrator J. Justin Woods was able to convince Northwoods to restore a 50-percent early adopter discount for the service, Committee Chair Elane Daly, D-Auburn, said.

With 62 percent of the service's cost eligible for reimbursement from the state, the first year's local share, paid for using un-expended funds from the DSS budget, will be $22,800.

The cost for 2019, 2020, and 2021, when the contract ends, will be $50,289.90, $45,600, and $45,600, respectively.

©2018 The Citizen, Auburn, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.