Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crist touts new mobile technology to help track child welfare cases

LARGO — Two years ago, following state scrutiny over the disappearance of a Florida foster child, Gov. Charlie Crist remarked that society does a better job of tracking packages than children.

Friday, Crist visited Pinellas County's Juvenile Welfare Board to celebrate the launch of mobile technology to help the state's welfare workers keep track of the children they visit.

"The most important thing we do is protect our children," Crist said.

The system, called Remote Data Capture, uses laptop computers, cameras and handheld mobile devices to help caseworkers file pictures and reports remotely. It also keeps them accountable with GPS technology that records where caseworkers have been and assigns time and date stamps to photos they take.

Florida is the first state in the country to introduce this technology and use it in child welfare, officials said.

George Sheldon, secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families, said caseworkers are asked to work miracles every day.

"We ought to be able to give them to tools to do that job," Sheldon said.

The new system has been used in the Miami area on an extensive basis, said Nick Cox, regional director of DCF.

In October, the state launched a pilot program. Since then, it has been implemented throughout the state. Different agencies are using the technology in different ways depending on their needs.

Katherine Toledo, who works for Directions for Mental Health, has been using the system for several months and said it helps her spend more time with children and submit more thorough notes.

Eckerd Community Alternatives, which provides child welfare services in Pinellas and Pasco Counties, has chiefly used the technology to allow caseworkers to file notes in the field. "It's a huge time saver for the caseworker that's already faced with one of the most difficult jobs you could have," said Lorita Shirley, executive director of the agency.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at or (727) 445-4155.

Crist touts new mobile technology to help track child welfare cases 02/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2010 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, right, along with her mother Tranda Webb, 62, pose for a photograph Wednesday, at their home in Port Richey. Pasco's former boyfriend John Riggins doused Pasco with gasoline and set her on fire after an argument last year.. CHRIS URSO   |   Times

  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]