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October 16, 2008

UAlbany's CTG and NYSOCFS presented with the 2008 Best Practices Award in Management by the NYS Forum

UAlbany Center for Technology in Government receives 2008 Best Practices Award in Management

From left, CTG graduate assistant Fawzi Mulki, CTG program associate Jana Hrdinova, CTG program manager Meghan Cook, NYS OCFS Deputy Commissioner William Travis, CTG program associate Natalie Helbig, CTG graduate assistant Bahadir Akcam.

The University at Albany's Center for Technology in Government and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) were presented with the 2008 Best Practices Award in Management by the NYS Forum at their annual meeting. The award highlighted the collaborative effort of a research-practice partnership that brought together CTG with OCFS and local departments of social services to learn about how mobile technologies can be used in child protective services (CPS) work in New York State.

"Deploying mobile devices to CPS caseworkers is more than just a technology project, it's an organizational change," said Meghan Cook, CTG program manager. "Laptops with wireless connectivity have the potential to radically change where and when caseworkers complete their work. Our partnership with OCFS provided critical information on the changes in policies, practices, and most importantly, culture that will be necessary to successfully adopt mobile technologies."

This award was the result of a pilot program that was aimed at evaluating whether having access to mobile technology would provide more opportunities to do traditional office work while in the field and whether such mobile devices facilitated increased efficiency and effectiveness in CPS investigations. In three successive efforts starting in 2006, NYS OCFS, the Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS), and CTG developed an evaluation strategy to provide learning and systematic feedback to inform decision-making as well as to understand the organizational and policy issues related to the adoption of mobile technologies. One goal of the assessment was to provide input into the overall implementation and deployment strategies of the mobile technology initiatives. Information about mobility and use and general satisfaction were used to inform mid-course and overall decision-making. Since 2006, 26 districts have received laptops for over 750 NYS CPS caseworkers.

For the full project description of the award, go to the NYS Forumís Web site. Additional information on the project and resulting reports can be found at: http://www.ctg.albany.edu/projects/mobile.

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