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Chapter 1: Introduction and Project Overview

Extended Mobile Technology Pilot

The NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) initiative to test mobile technologies in child protective services was originally developed in response to Mayor Bloomberg's "Safeguarding our Children 2006 Action Plan." The Plan instructed ACS to "deploy handheld computers or tablet PCs to field office workers." In response to this, ACS's Division of Child Protection (DCP) worked in conjunction with ACS Management Information Services (MIS) to develop a plan for piloting testing the use of portable wireless technologies for child protective service (CPS) caseworkers. The first phase of the pilot took place in spring of 2006 and lasted for three months. This report presents the results of an assessment of the technology in the second, larger, extended pilot project

The original portable information technology pilot project was a direct result of the NYS Legislature’s Laws of 2006 where in Chapter 58 was a requirement to “conduct a pilot program in New York City, Westchester County, and Monroe County to test best practices in portable for child protective caseworkers…[to] allow such caseworkers to complete effectively tasks necessary for their investigations of allegations of child abuse and maltreatment from field locations.” In December 2006 OCFS submitted a report to the Governor, detailing the impact of the pilot program on caseworker efficiency, productivity and caseload and a recommendation for continued testing.

Based on this report, and in order to learn more about the use of connected laptops within CPS, New York City's Administration for Children's Services (NYC/ACS) decided to undertake an extended pilot test of wirelessly connected laptops deployed to caseworkers and supervisors in two NYC field offices. This extended pilot, utilizing funds remaining from the NYS Portable Information Technology Pilot project as well as city finds,  begun in July 2007 with data collection concluding in October 2007. 

The overall goal of the initiative was to provide CPS caseworkers with remote access to CONNECTIONS (the OCFS central child welfare information system) and other ACS applications to allow them to accomplish their reporting activities while outside of the office. Specifically, the program was to enable caseworkers to use time spent waiting for appointments or court appearances, which often involve several hours of waiting time, to complete their required case documentation. Overall, ACS has approximately 1,310 CPS staff in five boroughs which investigates approximately 70,000 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect a year.