State and Local Agencies Improve Child Services Intake and Outreach Communications

When the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) sought to modernize its contact center, IT leaders took the opportunity to shift from an on-premises infrastructure to a cloud-based one.

“We literally are the entry point for teachers, for medical providers, for the public, for parents when they want to report child abuse or neglect. So, we can never crash,” says Division Chief Carlos Torres. “We need to be open 24/7/365 — period.”

DCFS is not alone. Nationwide, child services agencies are leveraging the cloud and other technologies to elevate service delivery and ensure efficient operations.

“Any use of technology to modernize the process is always going to be beneficial,” says Andrea Danes, EY global human services leader.

For families, technology can make services more readily available, while for state and local agencies, “it creates the opportunity for cost savings and efficiency,” she says.

Los Angeles Child Services Now Has an Intuitive Interface

In Los Angeles, the Child Protection Hotline was receiving over 220,000 calls every year, straining the department’s aging, on-premises infrastructure.

“The legacy technology is just very finicky. I don’t know if it’s coincidental, but every time it would rain, we would have issues,” Torres says.

For the upgrade, DCFS opted to use Amazon Web Services and migrated to Amazon Connect, a simple-to-use omnichannel contact center. The new system helps to streamline contacts, making it easier for families to connect with needed services and improving the process for county workers.

“Our objective was to figure out how we could use technology to make life easier for the social workers, so they can make life better for the community. And we wanted to enable people to work remotely,” says John Booher, data scientist and cloud developer for Los Angeles County. “Moving to AWS made that a lot easier.”

The cloud solution ensured that workers could make the transition seamlessly.

“When you pick a system, you have to pick a system that is quick and simple. Amazon Connect resembles a smartphone: It’s very intuitive,” Torres says.

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