Child Welfare Challenges Require New Tools

Protective services caseworkers face new challenges as the country slowly reopens in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Child welfare challenges coronavirus pandemic - SpeakWrite

New challenges stemming from lockdowns

Child welfare groups and advocates around the country are warning that there will likely be an increase in need for services as Covid related lockdowns end. Dr. Sharon Ford, a foster and adoption program director in Bryan, Texas states: “We are kind of in anticipation for a major awakening about finding out what is going on in folks’ homes during the sheltering period. We haven’t seen children on the playground, schools have been closed, childcare facilities have been closed and so those natural places where people see children aren’t there right now. And because they’re not there, once they open back up, there will be an uptick in the number of calls that come in about children that have been in unsafe situations” (Tsai, 2020)

Texas CASA warns that “Research and history have proven that the stress caused by public health crises…increase the incidence and severity of child abuse and neglect…large increase in the number of children and families in crisis due to high rates of unemployment, domestic violence, drug use and other stressors. This will lead to an increase in the number of children entering foster care.” (Texas CASA, 2020)

Child Welfare workers who are already pressed hard with high caseloads and stress will face additional challenges as the country comes out of lockdown. They will need proven, evidence-based tools to help them navigate the additional cases and situations with which they will be presented. SpeakWrite Voice to Document transcription is one such tool.

SpeakWrite - An Evidence-Based Solution

SpeakWrite produces quality transcriptions for over 60,000 clients nationwide, including other State and County-based protective service agencies. Since 1997, SpeakWrite has provided transcription solutions to law firms, state and local government, law enforcement agencies, and general business practitioners.

SpeakWrite users dictate their work directly via free smartphone Apps for iPhone and Android or by calling a 24-hour toll-free dictation line. They can also upload prerecorded material, such as notes and interviews, directly to a secure website or via email 24/7/365.

SpeakWrite’s U.S. and Canada-based typists transcribe the recording, which is then returned through the SpeakWrite system via email or secure link to the requesting user. SpeakWrite never uses voice recognition technology in any part of the process. The recording and transcribed documents are accessible 24 hours a day to the user and designated account administrators via the SpeakWrite Individual Account and Group Account Pages.

The Evidence is Clear

Child welfare challenges - SpeakWrite helps caseworkers

A 2019 survey of 10,000 caseworkers nationwide revealed that 69% of those that use SpeakWrite saved at least 1 hour per day (the equivalent of six work weeks per year). This allows overworked caseworkers to spend more time with families, less time working nights and weekends and avoid burnout and turnover. Additionally, 80% reported an increase in the quality of their work as a result of being able to create reports as they leave in-person visits. SpeakWrite has a proven track record with multiple state and federal agencies and can quickly and easily onboard thousands of users within a matter of days, at no expense to the Agency.

SpeakWrite was provided to Texas Department of Family and Protective Services caseworkers between the years of 2005 and 2010. In 2007 a survey was conducted by the agency asking caseworkers if SpeakWrite impacted their productivity. In that survey 93% reported a time savings over an hour per day with 94% reporting that their reports were better quality when they used the tool. This survey was accompanied with thousands of anecdotal reports of how SpeakWrite impacted their job as caseworkers, such as:

“SpeakWrite is an important tool to me as it reduces the amount of time I spend sitting at the desk typing, especially when that time could be spent making face to face contact with my families.”

“When needing to document overwhelming amounts of interviews or face to face visits, speak write has helped immensely – I’m able to document large amounts of information and feel less stressed.”

“With this tool it is help provide the workers more time investigating their cases. A wonderful tool and everyone should use it.”

View Evidence Based Results of How SpeakWrite Has Helped Other Agencies

In January and February of 2015, 32 caseworkers from the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) participated in a pilot of the SpeakWrite services. The final report evaluating the results of the pilot, submitted by Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D., Director of Child and Family Research Partnership at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin concluded: “The majority of caseworkers who were given access to SpeakWrite…reported that they prefer SpeakWrite to their prior documentation method and many caseworkers and supervisors noted that SpeakWrite facilitated more timely and detailed documentation.” The report also mentioned that caseworkers had the opportunity to use Dragon software to get AI generated transcription, but the majority don’t use the software and find it difficult to use.

A 2007 study conducted by Public Knowledge, LLC evaluated the Oregon Department of Human Services use of SpeakWrite and came to similar conclusions. 84% of SpeakWrite users report that using the service saved them time, including increases in quality of documentation and productivity outside of the office. Oregon Department of Human Services including their Child Welfare unit have been SpeakWrite clients since that 2007 study.

If you’re interested in more information on how we can help your agency’s caseworkers face documentation and workload challenges, click below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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