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At TechSoup, we’re always
interested in how nonprofits cleverly solve IT problems. Getting a case
management databases in use by several people and across different offices and
even across different organizations is a particularly thorny problem. Thanks to Darren
DeRose, the IT Administrator for Children's
Network of Solano County in Fairfield, California, having a shared database
is no longer such a problem.
The Children’s Network of Solano County does
lots of things to support low-income families across their county. It secures
funding for children’s services and programs, influences policy at the local
and state level, helps families get services, and collects and publishes data
on the health, safety and well-being of Solano County children.
The Children’s Network also
convenes and coordinates other local child welfare agencies, knitting together
seven family resource centers with a database called the Childnet Results Manager
data system. Darren reports that this was made possible through the Microsoft software
and licenses donated through TechSoup.
Here’s what I asked
you decided to build a case management database in SharePoint?
This project actually started
with a Microsoft Access version of the Childnet Results Manager. Our new SharePoint
web-based version how many organizations we can serve. It integrates United Way of the Bay Area's SparkPoint Centers
in Solano with the Family Resource Centers data system across all of Solano
County. We decided to upgrade the Childnet Results Manager from a local area
network based system using Microsoft Access to a web-based system using
Microsoft SharePoint 2010, backed with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 on Windows
We chose SharePoint primarily
because of its tremendous flexibility and its integration with Microsoft Office
products. This enables all of our users to collaborate county-wide and allows
seamless sharing of data (documents, calendaring, events, tasks, internal
client referrals, and discussion forums). The database system also maintains
security and confidentiality of clients. The system enables us to have SSL, 128-bit encryption, security groups, and several levels of user permissions. SharePoint
also enables versioning and item retention, so users cannot accidentally delete
or overwrite any documents or list items.
does the database do and how do people in the organizations you serve use it?
It is an outcome-based case
management information and referral database. Users enter and maintain information
about clients, which we call demographics, case notes, assessments,
applications, workshops and events, and referrals. Workflows are triggered automatically
to help ensure outcomes are tracked and logged. In addition to the standard
case management features, users can share documents, calendars, tasks,
participate in discussion forums, and create site-wide surveys. Right now, the
SparkPoint Centers in Solano are currently using it. We are in the process of adding
additional family resource center organization to this system.
you say a bit about your process for designing and building the database?
I used SharePoint Designer 2010
and made use of SharePoint’s internal templates. I met with our SparkPoint
staff to gather all of their forms and then matched them with the Access
version of the Childnet Results Manager to find common fields and features and
went from there. Most of the work was adding new fields, designing custom
forms, and configuring SQL Server 2008 reporting integration. Once I have finished
adding the additional family resource center organization, I can save the
entire site as a template that can be used in any SharePoint environment.
Microsoft SharePoint servers and client access licenses are available at TechSoup.
Any chance you are willing to share that Template?
Once we work out all the bugs, yes, we'll probably make a template available here on Techsoup!
Just wondering if this template is anywhere close to sharing? We are building a case management database for an Non Profit Legal Aid Clinic and this template would really help us...
We just got the last of the agencies up and running a few days ago. So we're officially live now! We have over half a million records in it for over forty thousand clients with no perfomance issues. We'll start working on a template to share later this month. I'll post a reply here when we get it done and maybe we'll be able to provide a sample site as well.
Darren, if you could *also* post something in the Community Forum - a link to your template, and maybe even a bit about how the transition to this software is going in your organization? Looking forward to it!
I just found this article -- was the template ever posted or shared anywhere. If so, how do I find it?
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.
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