Assessing Mobile Technologies in Child Protective Services


Project started on Feb. 22, 2007 (Completed)

In early 2006, the NYS Legislature and the NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) initiated a pilot program to test how portable information technology (now commonly called mobile technology) could be used in child protective services (CPS) casework. At the time, New York State was among a handful of states examining the use of mobile technologies to enhance child welfare service delivery. To understand and learn from the incremental deployment, OCFS partnered with CTG to conduct an assessment of each pilot period in order to answer important questions about the changes and impacts brought about by mobility in CPS work. A series of six evaluation reports focus on device selection, what makes a supportive mobile environment, and provides rich descriptions of how workers use devices to do their work.

Scope of Work

Throughout all phases in the NYS Portable Information Technology Pilot Program for Child Protective Services the main focus is to evaluate:

  • how the technology is used in the work setting and
  • how the technology impacted work itself.

More specifically, the purpose is to learn about three areas:

  • mobility and use,
  • productivity and efficiency, and
  • user satisfaction.

Phase V – 2010-2011 Does Mobility Make a Difference Cumulative Assessment: June 2010 – December 2011

Phase Five includes a multi-year assessment of all caseworkers receiving laptops in NYS. It also includes a description of good implementation strategies as well as recommendations for overall strategy.

Phase IV – 2008-2009 Demonstration Project: July 2010 - December 2011

Phase IV of this project includes an in-depth study of three Local Social Service Districts to inform the development of a business case for a large-scale laptop deployment within other OCFS units. This phase also includes an assessment of mobile technologies in 33 local districts deploying in late fall 2008. Both parts are scheduled to be completed by January 2009.

Phase III - Portable Information Technology Demonstration Project in 23 NYS Local Social Service Districts: November 2007–March 2008

Phase III of this pilot program included 23 Local Social Service Districts who submitted proposals and were granted requests to participate in the mobile technology effort. Over 400 laptops and tablets were deployed to districts throughout NYS. A final report was completed in March 2008.

Phase II - Extended Pilot in New York City's Administration for Children Services: August–December 2007

Phase II of this project involved a larger scale deployment of wireless laptops to CPS workers in New York City's Administration for Children Services (ACS). The pilot ran from August – October 2007 and involved approximately 135 child protective services workers and supervisors in the Staten Island and Williams Street (Manhattan) offices. These locations were selected to include a range of work and transportation conditions encountered by CPS workers in New York City. ACS managed all deployment and training, while CTG conducted an assessment of the technology, concentrating on issues of productivity, timeliness, and workers’ satisfaction. A final report was completed in December 2007.

Phase I NYS Portable Information Technology Pilot: July-November 2006

The first phase of the pilot program was a collaborative effort among NYS OCFS, three NYS Local Social Service Districts, and CTG. NYS OCFS coordinated the procurement and management of the Local District’s initiatives, but each district designed how the technology was tested in its own pilot. CTG conducted an individual assessment for each district. All three districts tested different technologies, which were:

  • the NYC Administration for Children Services tested six models of notebooks, tablets, and a Blackberry;
  • Westchester County tested a dictation system accessible by phone; and
  • Monroe County tested digital pens and dictation software for personal computers.

Overall, the assessment extended over a four month period starting in July 2006 and ending in late October 2006. A final report  was completed in November 2006.


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Funding Sources

This project was funded by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.