January 13, 2020

 

Technology and Best Practice

In the years I have served as a director for non-profit organizations, including SCNCAC, I have always believed that rather than just implementing technology simply because it is the latest thing, we should be taking a more conservative approach. In other words, we should evaluate technology trends at the statewide network level and only implement those that will help us make our network and individual CAC best practices even better. So how do we find that balance? 

I think most of you know that I am not against technology in the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) movement but as a state network we need to recognize that not all of our CACs have the same resources or ability to adapt technology to its full potential. So before we suggest that our CACs adapt to different technology or new processes on a statewide level, we need to ensure that we have evaluated the benefits to the children we serve and that we communicate those benefits to our member CACs and MDTs.

I believe that SCNCAC should always be working to integrate technology awareness into our communication efforts with our member CACs, multidisciplinary teams, statewide partners, stakeholders, and funders. One way to do that is to keep all of you informed on our current programs and initiatives that rely on new or existing technologies and highlight the reasons for implementation along with the successes and challenges of each. So with that in mind, I would like to update you on some of the present and future programs SCNCAC is working on that will require us and our CACs to identify and implement the most appropriate technology for our CAC movement in South Carolina.

Collaborate Database
In October of last year, we finished development work and launched the new CAC Collaborate statewide case management database. Work continues on reporting formats and case mapping in the database software. SCNCAC is working with SC Department of Social Services (DSS) to integrate the SCNCAC CAC database with the DSS CAPSS database to allow child abuse referrals to be made from DSS to CACs electronically. This integration will not only save time and resources both for CACs and DSS but it will help to ensure that all children are receiving the services they need during very difficult times in their lives. In preparation for the final work on this integration with DSS, SCNCAC needs to finalize reporting formats in the SCNCAC Collaborate database and bring all CACs on board with use of the new database. We acknowledge the work that many of our CACs have done to implement the database at the local level and look forward to working with our remaining CACs to fully implement the project.

VidaNyx Video Management System
SCNCAC has partnered with VidaNyx to help provide Children's Advocacy Centers (CACs) in South Carolina with a cloud-based digital video evidence management system for forensic interview (FI) recordings. While one year of funding has been approved with grant assistance from the National Children's Alliance, we are seeking innovative solutions to fund this system in future years to continue meeting the needs of CACs, Multidisciplinary teams, and the over 9,500 children and families they serve each year in South Carolina. Most of these children receive forensic interviews which is a critical first step in reducing the child's trauma and providing healing for the child and family. The forensic interview also provides evidence for judicial proceedings and helps to prevent others from falling victim to the same perpetrator. VidaNyx is one of the leading cloud-based digital video evidence management solutions for these interview recordings. Currently in most cases where FI recordings need to be shared with investigative team members or though a court order to defense attorneys, a DVD of the recording is produced for this purpose. Past legislative efforts to protect these FI recordings have been hampered in part due to the unsecure nature of these DVDs and the lack of any secure statewide digital evidence management system to store and provide court ordered access for the FI recordings. One challenge we faced with rolling out this program in December of last year, was that many of our partner DSS offices had older web browsers that did not meet security requirements for the video evidence management system. Our SC DSS office has worked diligently to provide a solution so that DSS investigative workers would be able to access the digital video management system. On 1/10/20, the IT department at SC DSS started the statewide deployment of an Enterprise Managed version of the Chrome web browser, which will allow all state and local DSS offices to meet the security requirements of the digital video evidence management system. We are so thankful for the work done by DSS and our member CACs who have adopted the VidaNyx system. We look forward to pursuing legislative protections for these very sensitive recordings once our remaining member CACs have adopted a digital video evidence management solution.

E-Learning for CAC/MDT Professionals
In order to better meet the continuing education and professional development needs of CAC and Multidisciplinary (MDT) professionals, SCNCAC rolled out an eLearning portal in mid 2018.  We are currently in development of an initial Victim Service Provider (VSP) training curriculum that will meet both South Carolina VSP training requirements and CAC national accreditation standards. Of the 24 total hours in the new VSP curriculum, approximately 8 hours will be online in the eLearning portal and the remaining 16 will be in class hours. We are thankful to our member CACs and MDT members who have embraced this new eLearning portal which will make this blended new VSP training curriculum possible. We hope to launch the blended VSP training curriculum during the spring of 2020.

So with the beginning of a New Year, I want to thank all of you for embracing technology initiatives that help us to improve best practices and better meet the needs of the approximately one in 10 children in South Carolina who will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

Sincerely,

Tom Knapp
Executive Director

 

South Carolina Network of Children's Advocacy Centers
1300 Pickens Street, Suite 158, Columbia, SC 29208
803-576-7250  I  www.cac-sc.org

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