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Appendix D – New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)

Background


The New York City Administration for Children’s Services’ (NYC ACS) strategy to test mobile technologies was originally developed in response to Mayor Bloomberg’s “Safeguarding our Children 2006 Action Plan.” Over the last two years, in conjunction with the NYS OCFS and the state legislature, NYC ACS provided funding to deploy and test the use of mobile technologies in Child Protective Services (CPS) work. During the weeks of July 16 through July 27, 2007, ACS deployed 190 Panasonic Toughbook to managers, caseworkers, and supervisors. Of the 190, 135 caseworkers and supervisors in two field offices – Manhattan and Staten Island – received laptops.

Following this deployment in July 2007, an initial assessment of the use of laptops in CPS work took place. The initial assessment examined how mobile technology affects CPS caseworker productivity, mobility, and satisfaction. This extended assessment examined similar areas over a longer period of time totaling ten months.

District context and deployment

At the time of data collection, ACS had approximately 1,310 CPS staff in five boroughs which investigates approximately 70,000 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect a year. 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 in order to allow caseworkers to complete reporting activities while outside of the office. Specifically, the goal was to enable caseworkers to use time spent waiting for appointments, in between appointments or during court appearances to complete their required case documentation.

NYC ACS provided internally mounted Verizon Wireless Wide Area Network (WWAN) cards and access to the city network went through several passwords (i.e., one log-on provided access to the server at NYC’s central IT office; another log-on provided access to ACS’ remote access server) designed to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive client data. During the initial assessment, access to the State network (i.e., the state central database) was through NYC ACS networks. After technical difficulties from this arrangement substantially slowed connections to the state’s central database, NYC allowed access to the state network through a virtual private network (VPN). This practice was consistent with other districts across the state. In addition, each laptop hard drive was encrypted using BeCrypt data security software.

Prior to receiving a laptop computer, each participant attended a three-hour orientation and training session, which introduced them to the device and provided training on connecting to NYC ACS and CONNECTIONS networks.

In this profile

This profile is specific to NYC ACS and brings together the most comprehensive data on the two data collection periods as well as findings on use, mobility, productivity and satisfaction.