Streamlining the child services journey for health and wellbeing
The Indiana Department of Child Services’ (INDCS) mission is to collaborate with federal, state, and community partners to provide child support services and protect children from abuse and neglect. INDCS researches cases, evaluates applications, and organizes foster care — managing more than a quarter million child cases per year, each of which require the collaboration of over 4,000 staff members. In order to continue providing best-in-class services to the children who are at the heart of its mission, INDCS needed to digitize its processes to scale with the case volume, streamline staff member collaboration, and improve the entire child services journey.
Delivering the right services to the right child quickly
INDCS set out to achieve the following objectives:
- Modernizing legacy systems and implementing a national electronic system to exchange case data with courts, families, and other state agencies
- Creating a single view of the over 20,000 children in its care in order to improve placement decisions, provide foster parents with real-time information, and more
- Ensuring caseworker and child health safety by creating a comprehensive view of health data in response to COVID-19
Connecting systems to build a single view of every child in need
Sharing data across state lines with a national electronic system
To start, INDCS set out to launch the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) — an electronic system that enables caseworkers to securely share case data in near-real-time in order to place children across state lines.
However, launching NEICE proved difficult. “Similar to other government agencies, we had critical data locked in a 10-year-old legacy database. This database crashed frequently — making it difficult to integrate with other systems,” said Kevin Jones, CIO, INDCS. To modernize its legacy database, INDCS went through a selection process and chose MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform and the Salesforce Platform.
With MuleSoft, INDCS began securely migrating case data from its legacy database into Salesforce. Using APIs, INDCS unlocked case data from its legacy database and decoupled the data from downstream systems — making it easy to migrate to Salesforce, while also extending the life of its legacy database. The team also integrated Salesforce and IBM Watson using the NEICE and INDCS Salesforce APIs.
INDCS became the first state agency in the country to support NEICE requirements. By launching NEICE, the INDCS team modernized its legacy database, improved processes, and streamlined cross-state communication — enabling real-time case transfers between states. Today, caseworkers can easily share immunization records, medical history, and other critical data with state agencies, courts, families, and more.
Building a 360-degree view of every child in need with a digital portal
For the second project, INDCS wanted to create a comprehensive view of each child’s records by building INvest, a new case management portal that replaced its existing custom-built system.
The INDCS team built INvest on the FedRAMP-authorized Salesforce 360 Platform for Government. Anypoint Platform powers the portal via the Foster Care API, which pulls data from dental, immunization, health, and other records. INDCS then reused APIs from their first project and built the Person Sync API to surface child case information to the portal in real-time.
Today, the portal provides secure access to critical child data for foster parents, caregivers, and caseworkers. Caseworkers can now create a case for every child, tag subject matter experts on specific questions or services, update case records with new information, and maintain visibility across the state.
The INDCS team also integrated its invoicing system with INvest to pull transactions into each child’s case record in real-time — enabling caseworkers to issue child support payments and foster parents to collect them.
“With MuleSoft and Salesforce, we’ve taken a strategic, platform approach that not only connects multiple systems across cities and countries, but also allows us to update fields as needed to capture new information,” said Jones. “This means that our caseworkers can focus on building a better childcare journey — ensuring the safety and well-being of every child.”
Learn more about how INDCS uses Salesforce
Combating COVID-19 and keeping people safe with a single view of health data
When COVID-19 required offices to shut down, INDCS took swift action to protect caseworkers and the children under their care. To do so, INDCS needed data from the state’s Department of Health. And the data had to be available in real-time across the state’s 92 counties in order for INDCS to keep pace with the spread of the virus — “and ultimately, keep our kids safe,” said Jones.
By reusing APIs built for previous projects — such as the Person Sync API — the INDCS team quickly integrated with Salesforce and Tableau to pull personal protective equipment (PPE) information, immunization records, and other data from the state’s Department of Health.
In order to keep employees safe, INDCS also used Anypoint Platform to build an integration with Salesforce Maps — enabling the agency to visualize the number of cases per case worker by county. The team also added fields to track when employees come in and out of a building, what supplies are being used where, and more.
“If we have a COVID-19 outbreak in one county we can quickly see how many cases we might need to transfer to a sister county, helping mitigate service disruption while keeping employees safe. Crucial capabilities in emergency scenarios,” said Jones.
Becoming the gold standard for child services
In partnership with MuleSoft and Salesforce, INDCS put itself in a better position to continue delivering on its mission to improve the health and wellbeing of children in need. After implementing the national electronic system, NEICE, the IT team witnessed a significant reduction in maintenance costs. Today, INDCS is the gold standard for other states thanks to the NEICE system.
“We launched INvest much faster than we expected — in just two years, compared to the seven years we had originally allocated for a custom-built solution. We also launched at a fraction of the cost: 21% of the original project budget estimation.”
Kevin Jones, CIO
Indiana Department of Child Services
Completion of surveys, questionnaires, and case reporting also jumped to a 100% compliance rate, compared to the 20-30% average compliance rate prior to INvest — demonstrating the impact of the automated, streamlined system with the broader team.
And, due to the reusable APIs the team built, INDCS was able to launch its COVID-19 solution — which tracks everything from healthcare data to PPE availability — in a mere eight hours.
“Thanks to MuleSoft, we were able to take control of our response to COVID-19. I am confident that we have the right foundation, reusable APIs, and platform in place to support our future mission-critical initiatives. Now, more than ever, we are ready for the unpredictable.”