Make us your home page
Instagram

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 lorri@sptimes.com 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

Loading...
  1. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  2. Hopes fade after landslide destroys Chinese village (w/video)

    World

    Crews searching through the night in the rubble left by a landslide that buried a mountain village under tons of soil and rocks in southwestern China found 15 bodies, but more than 110 more people remained missing.

    Vehicles and people line a road leading to the site of a landslide in Xinmo village in Mao County on Saturday in southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. More than 100 people remained missing after the village was buried under tons of rocks and soil.
  3. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  4. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  5. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.