It's a Hard Knock Life... As a Community Corrections Staff: Reporting Nightmares No More

Posted by Lisa Sayler on 10/15/15 1:30 PM
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It's a Hard Knock Life... As a Community Corrections Staff: Reporting Nightmares No More

Reporting Nightmares No More

"You want to report on all that hard work you do with your client, right?" Words our unsung hero, the case manager, loathes hearing. Of course we know reports are important. Of course we know that done correctly, reports are vital to our clients’ progress and our success as case managers. But it’s hard to be convinced that we should take joy in completing intake, monthly or termination reports.

Reporting on a client’s progress (or lack thereof) is very important, yet community corrections case managers continually struggle with keeping up with paperwork type responsibilities, deadlines and having enough time to meet with clients in a quality fashion.

Even the best case managers aren’t able to spend the time they should with their clients because they must also keep up with compliance and paperwork requirements. You know what it is like to have to locate everything you, and others, have already done and put it into a report… every time a client intakes... every month… every incident… all of the treatment… all of the drug test outcomes… and of course every time a client terminates… and usually all of the above.

Let's Clean Up That Desk

This is where CorrectTech came in and changed everything five years ago. CorrectTech gives community corrections professionals the tools they need to manage “paperwork” from A to Z in a completely customizable and paperless system. As customer development specialist and “practitioner in residence” at CorrectTech, I get to see the impact our software makes on the daily (and weekly and monthly) lives of community corrections professionals working so hard to make a difference.

To me, sometimes our colleagues and customers seem happiest with the simplest of features. I remember looking for the client’s birth date, social security number, and case number every time I filled out a document (which was A LOT). With CorrectTech, this information and more is plugged in once, then used to fill in any document a program needs, no more repeated efforts on menial tasks.

When I show new case managers and potential customers how a monthly report is created for them, literally at the touch of a button, I get a consistent joyful gasp followed by, “Is it that easy?” This seemingly simple feature saves about half an hour every time the “old fashioned” manual effort is skipped – a major impact to community corrections staff, allowing them to put more of their energy into individualized client case planning, positive reinforcement strategies, and treatment interventions.

Pulling Our Weight

I remember those blasted paper files as a case manager too. When it came time to create a monthly report I would lug one, sometimes two, big paper files to my desk. I guess the good thing was I counted it as my workout for the day. The bad thing was I had to file a bunch of UA results, breath test results, treatment reports, etc., etc., etc. and then find the information I needed. Then I had to count and list each breath test, UA, treatment session, assessment result, case manager session, group meeting session, house meeting session, community support attendance, rule violation, restitution payment, and a wide range of required documents, etc., etc., etc. If someone didn’t give me a document I needed in time, it never made it in my report. Sound familiar to anyone… 

Meanwhile, if one of my clients had an unexpected incident or needed more time to discuss their case plan in a meeting, then I often had to do these reports well after the time I was supposed to be cozy in my own home.

Over five years ago, when I first saw this automated monthly report feature made just to help make case managers' jobs easier, I was happy for my staff and a bit envious thinking about all of my years of late nights as a case manager. Wasn’t it finally time for a community corrections case management software system that actually makes our lives easier instead of harder?!

Case managers don’t have to file UA results, BT results, incident reports or those old paper “prosocials” we gave them (nor do they have to count each and every one at time of termination - yikes!). Once those services or reports are done in CorrectTech, they are not only filed in the electronic case file, but the counting, the case notes and dates are recorded and can be pulled into the automated monthly report! Sure, case managers have to enter in attendance, community support hours and incident outcomes - but no more wasted time coming and going to the file cabinets. It’s as easy as checking a few boxes and making a few entries while reviewing and discussing with clients. Once those few clicks in our CorrectTech software are done, the Monthly Report function will pull that information in automatically for you! No duplicating efforts or lifting heavy binders (sorry to those of you who may have to find alternative workout plans that don't involve this step).

Click here for a fun way to learn more about CorrectTech’s automated monthly reports and our truly paperless document center.

Making Forward Progress

I would love to say that the case manager job is now easy, but I won’t go that far. As with most things, taking away one part of the work opens up opportunities to pursue new initiatives. We have found that it frees time for better case planning, treatment invention strategies, collaborating across staff about client behavior, and more. In my dual role of Customer Development Specialist and “practitioner in residence,” I will say that being a part of a community corrections software solution that makes case managers’ jobs more manageable brings joy to my day.

Reporting is just one of the pains in our unsung hero’s day.  What about the dreaded “can you get me that information real quick?” request.  I have stories for that too….see you soon!

To request more information or schedule an online demonstration of our Community Corrections Software, click here. We offer integrated software and support services for Probation/Parole, Residential and Reentry programs. Our Program Foundation Platform and twelve robust modules were designed by community corrections professionals to guide organizations toward a powerful EBP implementation, relieve them of strenuous paperwork and manual processes, and enable them to focus on what matters - people!

Topics: Community Corrections, Practices, Software

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