The South Carolina Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers (SCNCAC) partnered with the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) to develop an automated referral service between DSS and SCNCAC’s statewide Collaborate application. This data integration improves the response to child abuse by:

  • Saving time for child advocates,
  • Improving referral accuracy between agencies, and
  • Promoting best case management practices throughout the state.
“Thanks to the Collaborate team, we have a very professional system that is going to be a model for all other states in the country.”

Thomas Knapp headshot Thomas Knapp
Executive Director, South Carolina Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers

Case Study: South Carolina’s Dept. of Social Services Integration

With the passage of the Child Abuse Response Protocol Act in 2021, the State of South Carolina established a protocol to effectively and efficiently respond to child abuse cases.

The Challenge
  • South Carolina’s DSS receives a high volume of abuse and neglect reports - over 61,000 each year.
  • SCNCAC annually serves over 11,000 children who were potential victims of or at risk of becoming abuse victims - many of whom were manually referred by DSS.
  • The responsibility and knowledge around child welfare has historically been siloed among the agencies and organizations involved in it.

SCNCAC and South Carolina DSS needed an automated way to organize, triage, and assign these referrals for 17 primary and 11 satellite CACs across the state.

The Solution
1. Automated Data Integration

The Collaborate team implemented a webservice to pull new Cases entered into DSS’ database system into Collaborate on an hourly basis. With the near real time updates, CAC staff are able to access information about possible referrals at the same time the investigation begins, allowing coordinators to prevent children from falling through the cracks.

Infographic showing the DSS data integration process from beginning to end.

2. Regional Case Routing

CACs are assigned specific counties to serve, so Cases are routed to these centers based on geographic data in the referrals. This Case routing scheme makes it simple to find and link DSS Intakes with Cases in Collaborate - while also maintaining confidentiality.

Infographic showing the DSS data integration process from beginning to end.

“We believe this database integration will promote best casework practice and reduce the potential for children and youth in need of CAC services to fall between the cracks. This is huge.”

Karen Bryant headshot Karen Bryant
Deputy State Director of Child Welfare Services, South Carolina Dept. of Social Services

3. Converting Intakes into Collaborate Cases

Caseworkers can accept new DSS Intakes in seconds. This streamlined workflow means children and families get the help they need faster, while saving CACs time and money.

Animated GIF of case worker accepting automated referrals from DSS in Collaborate.

4. Reporting

With both aggregate and real time reporting, DSS, SNCAC, and individual centers gain insight into their referrals data.

Screenshot of a bar chart showing referrals by month and status.

5. Future-proofing

When requirements change, Collaborate’s flexible referral forms are ready to serve up any data that SCNCAC and their DSS partners need - without the need for developer intervention.

The Upshot

SCNCAC Executive Director, Thomas Knapp, notes that this integration helps SNCAC fulfill the state’s mission to “safeguard equity for South Carolina kids by helping to ensure referral for services are made regardless of background, demographics or where the child may live.”

“This really is unprecedented collaboration…this database represents only the second state in the country that has successfully implemented the program.”

Thomas Knapp headshot Thomas Knapp
Executive Director, South Carolina Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers

With automated statewide data imports and smart triaging options, hundreds of Collaborate users are handling tens of thousands of cases more efficiently. Contact us to see how smart data integrations can impact your organization.