The Village for Families and Children, Inc. is a private, non-profit human services agency that serves over 7,000 children and families in the Greater Hartford region and in Central Connecticut. Founded in 1809, the Village has emerged as a preeminent behavioral health and human services agency committed to building a community of strong, healthy families who protect and nurture children. The agency’s services focus in three core areas: Placement and Permanency (adoption, foster care and family preservation), Children’s Behavioral Health and Family and Community Support.
“What makes our agency unique is that we are strongly committed to and deeply involved in the communities we serve,” said Patrick Martin, the Village’s Director of Information Technology. “We offer a broad variety of programs and services—from behavioral health to workforce development—that assist children and parents in leading emotionally healthy, productive and rewarding lives.” The Village is a lead agency for adoption services in Connecticut, and placed approximately 60 children in permanent homes in 2011. In the agency’s 204-year history, thousands of children have found nurturing homes thanks to the dedicated staff at the Village. In addition to its core mission, the agency has over 46 programs which are offered to the community—from Child FIRST, a birth to five-year-old program, female empowerment programs, pre-school, fatherhood support services and education, after school academic programs and numerous behavioral health programs.
“Each year, the Village serves thousands of people from five locations throughout the state,” Martin continued. “Adopting GlobalSearch enabled us to consolidate our multiple Records Department offices into one location and provide much greater access to those records across the enterprise. At the same time, GlobalSearch allowed us to streamline our Intake Department’s processes. As a result of these changes, we have seen a ten-fold increase in overall efficiency, regulatory compliance has been greatly enhanced and the privacy and security of our vital records has been virtually guaranteed.”
The Village has an annual budget of more than $24 million and employs over 400 people. Martin and a staff of four are responsible for the Information Technology needs of this sizeable organization. “From an IT perspective, GlobalSearch is extremely cost-effective and is very easy to administer and maintain,” said Martin, a 15-year veteran in the IT field. “GlobalSearch was highly compatible with our existing Electronic Health Records system, and we were able to implement GlobalSearch without adding to our IT staff.”
The Village began researching Content Management systems and was introduced to GlobalSearch by a trusted office productivity solutions company. “GlobalSearch was the leader in every respect,” Martin said. “It had all of the functionality we needed in one very competitively priced package, whereas the other systems we looked at were à la carte solutions that did not have the flexibility of GlobalSearch. We could see that GlobalSearch would also be the easiest to administer and Square 9 Softworks has provided phenomenal technical support from the beginning.”
GlobalSearch’s ease of use was also an important factor in the agency’s decision. “GlobalSearch has a nice, clean design and is remarkably easy to learn and use,” Martin said. Martin’s enthusiasm was shared by other key stakeholders at The Village as well. “When the director of our Records Department and some of her staff first road-tested GlobalSearch, they responded: ‘Wow! This is so easy to use!’”
Prior to implementing GlobalSearch, the Village’s processes for originating, storing and retrieving paper records for thousands of clients was highly inefficient. The Records Department staff would have to manually pull paper client records based on the next day’s schedule and deliver them to the location where they were needed. “It was a very cumbersome system,” Martin recalled.
“Now, with GlobalSearch, all of those challenges have been eliminated,” Martin continued. “When clients arrive, our clinicians simply pull up records on their computers. When new clients register, we take their information, scan and index it into GlobalSearch using barcode technology. This gives us the option to then destroy the paper records. We have cut down on our filing by 75 percent, not to mention reducing our carbon footprint.” The Village intends to scan all of its archived paper records into GlobalSearch so it can regain space lost to storage.
Today, using GlobalSearch and other software to manage records electronically, nine staffers do what sixteen did previously. Based on average salaries for the area, Martin estimates that GlobalSearch has allowed the Village to save the equivalent of one full-time employee’s burdened annual compensation. The office space that formerly needed to house seven redundant workers has been repurposed for revenue-driven activities like client counseling. Using GlobalSearch also ensures that the Village complies with regulations pertaining to personal health information and privacy laws such as HIPAA.
“GlobalSearch quickly paid for itself and has proven even more valuable than I had anticipated,” Martin explained. “In the two years since we implemented GlobalSearch, we have seen tremendous gains in overall efficiency and security while utilizing only a fraction of its full potential. Our goal now is to extend our use of GlobalSearch in our Finance and Human Resources Departments and throughout the entire organization, so we can use the solution’s advanced workflow and other capabilities more fully.”
“Because of our successful experience at the Village, I have been recommending GlobalSearch to others,” Martin concluded. What would he say to someone considering GlobalSearch? “Go for it!” Martin said. “I believe GlobalSearch is the best Content Management solution you could possibly install.”
To learn more about the Village for Families and Children, go to www.villageforchildren.org.