INPUT Analyst Stephen Moss reports.
On the shore of Potomac River last week, child welfare IT managers from 44 states and the District of Columbia met for the Annual National Child Welfare IT Manager’s Meeting. This annual conference, in its tenth year, is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children’s Bureau (CB). The conference is an excellent forum for IT managers to interact with federal officials and the vendor community, as well as engage in interstate discussions about common challenges and experiences.
Though the content of a multiday conference can often descend into minutiae to fill time, the IT Manager’s Meeting remained relevant and interesting throughout by providing an excellent survey of current state trends, federal directives for child welfare, along with future initiatives and directions states wish to take. It became clear following four days of robust discussions, presentations, and collaboration that the concerns and issues are constant across state lines.
The obvious topic on every bureaucrat and government official’s mind these days is cutting costs. Specifically, how can technology and innovation drive more efficient, less-expensive child welfare services? State and local IT personnel took to the podium to tout their positive, and sometimes negative, experiences with technology as a driver for lower overhead and better outcomes. This two-fold promise was on the minds of everyone in attendance at the conference.
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