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Implementing MA’s new foster care process

Streamlining foster care workflows alongside a Massachusetts government agency

UX / UI Design
Technology Architecture

The Challenge 

Government agencies play a critical role in safeguarding the well-being of children across the Commonwealth, and the one discussed in this case study is no different. In fact, they provide services to over 80,000 children in the state of MA, including those who are at risk of abuse or neglect. 

In the case of children whose personal well-being is at risk, the agency will work to place the children into the foster care system. In 2019, the agency implemented changes to its Protective Intake and Family Assessment and Action Planning policies. The agency pursued the reforms in an effort to ensure that it was prioritizing child safety and improving the quality of care for children who entered into the foster care system.

New policy in hand, the agency needed to ensure that their staff were clear on how the policy directly impacted their day-to-day efforts. Mistakes in implementing the policy had to be prevented, because they could pose risks to the children in the agency’s care. Soon, the agency's stakeholders realized it needed a new online tool to ensure that implementation of the policy remained consistent for all employees. ADK Group was brought in to design a new solution that ensured the agency's new policy was implemented effectively in the field.

The Solution

In order to create a solution that could effectively address the agency's new policy, ADK met directly with the agency’s team to dive deep into the issues that its employees confronted on a daily basis. The teams from the agency and ADK defined the new worker matrix, what data is most important to workers, and researched how altering the data intake process could empower the agency to improve its foster care services. 

Since the agency's workforce often works remotely to follow up or investigate a child’s living environment, the solution had to work “on the go”. For example, an employee might need to access medical records or police reports remotely in order to make a placement decision for a child. The team worked on prioritizing access to information that was most relevant to workers in order to reduce the burden on the agency's already busy staff.

ADK documented the specific roles and responsibilities of the agency's workforce and designed a solution that enabled workers to perform their jobs according to the new policy. Working together, ADK and this Massachusetts government agency designed a new interface and user experience leveraging the open-source PrimeFaces UI framework that mapped back to the design and technology requirements outlined in other areas of the interface. After producing an initial design prototype and continually iterating with team members, the agency is now successfully implementing the updated policy and improving child safety with their new tool.

Why ADK?

This particular government agency knew its old foster care policy was in need of an update in order to help bring improvements to the children in the system. But updating the policy was not enough. The key decision-makers realized that the workers in the field needed an intuitive tool that would ensure they were following the new policy and fulfilling their responsibilities more effectively. 

Working together, the agency and ADK developed a solution that ensured the agency's updated policy was followed in the field. This customized solution was also designed to help agency employees collect different types of data more seamlessly. With this data in hand, the agency is better prepared to enhance the level of care that the Massachusetts foster system provides to children and families across the state.