If you ask the extendedReach foster care software team about the most rewarding parts of their job, there is a good chance they will talk about our inspiring customers....
extendedReach proudly serves over 25,000 case managers and Ari Knight oversees the Customer Experience team to ensure every experience with extendedReach is a good one. Ari is a pillar at extendedReach and kindly took the time to answer a few questions of ours so you can get to know her more.
First, would you share your professional experience prior to becoming a part of extendedReach foster care software?
I began my career at a social service agency working second and third shift as a Direct Care Worker in their Residential program serving girls aged 11-18. After several years I moved into a Medical Coordinator position where I was tasked with securing appropriate medical care for all the children placed in our Residential facilities. Our agency decided to purchase an electronic records system and selected extendedReach’s parent company, KCare, as their vendor of choice. I participated in the set-up and became their primary System Administrator in a new position as EHR Specialist. After a time, I decided to move on to another organization and while completing my pre-hire paperwork I get a call from COO Johanna Brooks - "Hola chica!..."
How do you feel your previous experience helped shape your journey to here?
I am heavily invested in our customer experience because I was a customer... I was a staff at a small social service agency, struggling with the inefficiencies and errors of paper documentation and trying my best to streamline our paper files. I saw firsthand how the right tool can transform the business practices of, and the care provided by, an agency.+
I went through implementation, so I know how difficult it can be for our customers to make time for implementation tasks and how hard it is to roll out a new software to their staff. I wrote into Support, so I know how hard it can be for our customers to understand a response to a ticket and how powerful good product documentation can be. I was a System Administrator, so I understand the battle that our SAs engage in to support their organizations in adopting and relying upon a new system.
What is something you would like to see change in the industry?
At least in my home state of Kentucky, the state has done a poor job empowering agencies to move to their own electronic records system. They still require lots of documentation on paper, or on an copy of official state form (which are just Word Documents, by the way). The state has not mandated or encouraged their auditors to review records electronically and many agencies are at the mercy of the individual auditor and find themselves having to print out entire case files from their electronic systems - just to be reviewed once by the auditor and then sent to the shredder.
Unfortunately, throughout their time in care, kids often move from agency to agency as their placements change. At each new agency, they must go through new assessments, evaluations, screenings, etc. as they build their case file at each new agency.
For those children in the custody of the state, having a state-operated centralized database that each agency's EHR system could integrate with would drastically cut down on the repeat documentation that is too often re-traumatizing to the child.
What do you feel is the top challenge that social workers face?
They are overworked, underpaid, and stretched too thin with their caseloads. The documentation requirements are intense, and they often find themselves "double-documenting" in their agency's system as well as the states, which adds time to their already busy work load.
How does extendedReach’s foster care software support its customers?
From a product perspective, eR's Compliance Tab and the Foster Family Web is a game changer for agency documentation.
As a team, we try to support our customers with quality support, documentation, and training so they are best able to leverage their eR system for the good of their agency and clients.
What is one tip you would give for one of our social worker customers starting their career?
Lead with empathy and have clear boundaries. This work is hard, and you must take of yourself.