Government agencies in Hamburg, Germany, sought to improve speed, efficiency, transparency and collaboration in handling allegations and managing cases of child abuse and neglect.
Watson Health provided integrated case and social program management supporting end-to-end processes to help unify critical data, streamline client intake and improve organizational effectiveness.
Improved processesenabling standardized and controllable workflows for social workers
Provided extensive integrationof case management capabilities
60% increasein cases processed over five years
Business challenge story
Fighting fraud, waste and abuse
The prevalence of child abuse and neglect is a major problem in Germany. In the City of Hamburg (also a federal state of Germany), the responsibility of protecting this vulnerable population falls to the seven local Jugendämter (Youth Welfare offices) in the seven districts of Hamburg, with approximately 40 local agencies and two special organization units for the whole city area. The Hamburg Authority of Labour, Family and Integration (Hamburger Behörde für Arbeit, Soziales, Familie und Integration [BASFI]) is responsible for the definition and monitoring of the policies and provides the financial and technical resources for the local agencies.
To better serve the needs of the region’s abused and neglected youth, BASFI wanted to drastically improve the processes for client intake and case management, as well as overall organizational effectiveness and communication. Specific business needs included:
Improved speed and efficiency: Social workers received police reports containing allegations of child abuse and neglect by fax — a process that was often slow and difficult to manage
Enhanced collaboration: Existing systems did not adequately support the timely communication of case data and insights among various district and specialist authorities
Data integration: Multiple legacy systems were in use that did not communicate effectively with one another, leaving a gap in critical information
Customized solution designed and deployed
To address these challenges, the organization partnered with Watson Health to design and deploy an outcomes-based solution that would help standardize processes and automate workflows. The result was JUS-IT, a business application based upon the IBM Solution for Child Welfare, which includes components for social program management, support, verification, provider management, social enterprise collaboration and appeals.
The solution was implemented in two stages over four years.
In Stage 1, standards for the JUS-IT solution were determined and Watson Health modules were deployed for general social services, including foster care, nursing care services and youth welfare financial expenditures. An interface between JUS-IT and SAP enables all expenses and claims for youth services to be fully settled.
In Stage 2, BASFI’s inventory procedure system, PROJUGA, was replaced by additional Watson Health modules to support the areas of alimony, custody, guardianship, maternity leave and juvenile court assistance.
JUS-IT provides the local and special agencies of youth and family welfare with extensive integrated case management capabilities, allowing them to better document their interactions with children and families as well as information related to services, contacts, worker visits and judicial processes. Case workers can easily view and manage the information they need to help clients. And because rules and regulations frequently change, the ability to submit electronic rather than paper files helps BASFI improve its regulatory compliance.
The solution also enables better collaboration between case workers and departments across multiple agencies. The social workers can access a single application that supports the full range of case activities — from the point of initial receipt of an allegation or other contact through to a final conclusion of reunification, adoption or independent living. For example, when a child neglect allegation is made, the details of the initial intake assessment immediately lead to the creation of a child protection case. Supporting information, such as police reports, is imported directly from the police department into the system and forwarded to the appropriate department for processing. The system is then used on an ongoing basis to manage all aspects of the child protection process, leading to greater system efficiency and helping ensure that children are put first.
Using the Watson Health workflow management solution, BASFI defines and maintains workflows to ensure that best practices are followed and to improve the speed, consistency and quality of its business processes. For example, when a child protection case is raised, a workflow is set in motion that automatically alerts a supervisor if the case has not been selected from the work queue by a case worker within 24 hours. This ensures that serious child protection issues are dealt with promptly. Other business-critical workflows manage the handling of cases from initial task assignment right through to case closure and conclusion, as well as the automatic generation of letters and case correspondence. JUS-IT is also fully integrated with the City of Hamburg’s existing financial systems, and an interface to the CareCost-Manager supports the settlement of medical services.
Results benefiting workers and clients
By enabling multidisciplinary collaboration and innovation, the JUS-IT solution is helping the Jugendämter and police authorities make informed decisions as they interact with children at risk of harm and families in crisis. Implementation has resulted in a significant decrease in time required to bi-directionally exchange data between social workers and police. Since BASFI first implemented JUS-IT, it has seen a greater than 60 percent increase in cases processed over five years compared to the legacy system.
Today, the JUS-IT system is fully operational with 1,300 users, more than 200,000 cases — about half of which are in active status — more than 370,000 clients and approximately 50,000 transactions processed per month. Ongoing enhancements continue to be made to the system in an effort to further streamline processes and increase efficiency in the end-to-end management of Hamburg’s youth welfare services.
About Hamburg Authority of Labour, Family and Integration
The Hamburg Authority of Labour, Family and Integration, part of the Ministry of Labour, Social and Family Affairs and Integration, is a government office in Germany responsible for the monitoring and management of policies regarding youth welfare. The organization operates in the seven districts of Hamburg through approximately 40 local agencies and two special organization units.
About Watson Health
For more than a century, IBM has been creating innovations that matter. And with Watson Health, we are committed to help build smarter health ecosystems. This means working with you to help you achieve simpler processes, better care insights, faster breakthroughs, and improved experiences for people around the world. Our core strengths combined — deep industry expertise in health, data and analytics, actionable insights, and our reputation for trust and security — can enable us to deliver support for our clients. Together with our clients and partners, IBM is putting smart to work. For more information, visit https://www.ibm.com/watson-health
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