It’s time to bust out your inner Buddy the Elf and spread some holiday cheer this year by putting smiles on the faces of those in need. With approximately 424,000...
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. Social work is not easy, but our clients are truly making a difference. We are particularly impressed by the work of St. Vincent Family Services and wanted to highlight them in a blog post. Program Director Theresa Van Dootingh took some time to answer our questions so you can learn more about SVFS.
I imagine you’re very passionate about St. Vincent’s mission. Is there an inspiring story or case you’d like the world to know about?
At St. Vincent Family Services, our mission is to help families build brighter futures by providing trauma-informed behavioral health care within a learning community. With that being said, the case managers through St. Vincent Family Services’ foster care program will go above and beyond for any child without a moment’s hesitation. There are instances when a child needs to be put into respite from their foster home for one reason or another. To keep as much consistency in that child’s life as possible, the case managers will help with transportation to school or events. This helps the child maintain some sense of normalcy. The case managers at St. Vincent Family Services are willing to go to any lengths to ensure the child’s best interest is kept, even if requires weeks of longer distance driving.
What were some of the pain points you experienced prior to using extendedReach?
Prior to using extendedReach, there was not a good system to track data and details on our foster children. In extendedReach, we are able to easily see and track compliance for foster families and foster children. While we were able to track appropriate foster child data prior to extendedReach, tracking foster family information was impossible. Our process of using internal documentation drives or paper files was not conducive or efficient for our tracking needs. Running reports and pulling data was laborious and often inaccurate. extendedReach has allowed us to be more efficient and comprehensive in data tracking, management, and analysis, and has improved our risk management efforts, storing and maintaining data in a safe, secure manner.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
The most rewarding aspect of working in foster care is helping foster parents recognize their strengths and giving them a space to apply those strengths to helping children in need. There is a large need for foster parents and being able to be a part of an agency where we put kids first reignites my passion to work in child welfare. extendedReach has been pivotal in our team’s ability to place more children with the most appropriate foster families, along with ensuring all foster families are kept in compliance.
What have you been able to achieve since using extendedReach?
Since using extendedReach, our agency has maintained one place where documents can be uploaded and kept together in a secure manner. extendedReach has given the foster care program at St. Vincent Family Services the opportunity to go from an all-paper record to an electronic health record (EHR). Gone are the days when staff need to create an alert for every child and every possible required document, as extendedReach helps keep track of what is needed. extendedReach has also been beneficial to our foster parents, in keeping up to date with all trainings and other recertification needs. extendedReach has overall helped grow our program here at SVFS and has been instrumental in guiding efforts for retention and recruitment.
How has extendedReach exceeded your expectations?
Coming into this role, I have never used a system like extendedReach. Having now used it, the system is better than I thought it would be. The function of being able to have a foster parent website to communicate and gather documents from foster parents is amazing. This will take some stress off of foster parents needing to complete paper forms and allows easier access of uploading them.
What was one unexpected benefit of using extendedReach?
An unexpected benefit to using extendedReach has been all the different functions the system has for not only staff, but also foster parents. extendedReach provides one safe place where foster parents can upload documents and information can be shared. In a world where many things are now virtual, it has been helpful to have one place for foster parents to gather instead of several.
Thank you, St. Vincent Family Services, for all that you do!