Tracking Kids the Florida Way

My column today makes the suggestion that DHS caseworkers use their cell phones to snap a photo of the kids they visit, as a way to prove that the look-sees actually occurred. Since most cell phones allow you to share the photo with others, why not have the caseworker send the photo, that day, to a designated e-mail address at DHS, as evidence that the visit took place?

It's not a perfect solution to the problem of some caseworkers lying about having seen the children they're paid to protect.  After all, not all cell phones can indicate, via GPS technology, where and when the photos are taken.

But until DHS gets a mutilmillion-dollar, fully-integrated software system as sophisticated as the one Florida is rolling out (which I mention in my column), it's at least a start toward preventing tragedies like the neglect death of 14-year-old Danieal Kelly.

There wasn't enough space in my column to go into depth about Florida's case-management overhaul, but the video below explains it nicely. Yes, it's a promo video created by AT&T, which helped that state's Department of Children and Families (DCF) to implement the new devices, but it's well done and makes me green with envy that we don't have a similar success to crow about here.

My column also didn't have room to give a shout-out to Ramin Kouzehkanani, the gung-ho chief information officer for Florida's DCF.  Ramin took much time to explain how he worked to develop the system; he's so passionate about the results, he tells me he'll do whaetver he can to help DHS launch a similar effort here.