CIO, Indiana Department of Child Services
Within the laundry list of agencies that make up any state government, few could argue against the critical and life-changing work done by the men and women of the child services department. In Indiana, Kevin Jones is responsible for overseeing the technological infrastructure that enables this important work for the state’s Department of Child Services. With more than 25,000 children and families dependent on the agency’s 4,000 employees, the technology just has to work.
Jones has served in this role since 2017, spearheading the development of innovative and integrated technologies, like virtual reality training for caseworkers and caseworker candidates. Through use of the cutting-edge technology, caseworkers could be exposed to real-world child welfare situations without ever leaving the office. This allows the department to navigate not only steep training requirements for these positions, but also helps to gauge whether a candidate is cut out for the essential work. According to figures from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), this work helped the department reduce caseworker turnover by just under 18 percent.
“We discovered that about 40 percent of our staff turnover was due to either caseload- and/or paperwork-related issues,” Jones said during a webinar hosted by Government Technology. By digitizing processes, he explained, the agency was able to retain staff, cut down on time spent processing information, and maximize time with children and families who need it.
In an equally important undertaking, Jones and his team worked to streamline the background check process with a new portal. It is estimated that the new tool increased productivity by 27 percent. Similarly, the department stood up a portal to better connect foster parents and children through an easy-to-follow step-by-step process.
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