Enhancing CCWIS Acceptance and Utilization for Frontline User: Findings from an Empirical Study

Enhancing CCWIS Acceptance and Utilization for Frontline User: Findings from an Empirical Study

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- Hello, and welcome to the Child Welfare Information Technology Systems Managers and Staff webinar series, brought to you on behalf of the Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Children's Bureau. My name is Stephanie Sarber and I'm your host for today's webinar. Today's discussion is entitled, Enhancing CCWIS Acceptance and Utilization for Frontline Workers: Findings from An Empirical Study. Okay, so a little guidance to encourage your participation in today's webinar. To ask questions during the presentation, you can type them into the Q&A feature at the top or bottom of your screen, or you can ask questions over the phone using the raise hand feature, and the presenter will unmute your line. If you aren't on the webinar and have called in using your phone, you can dial star nine and the presenter will unmute your line.

After today's webinar, you may also email questions to CCWIS.Questions@acf.hhs.gov. Next slide. Today's presenters will be Dr.

Philip Breitenbucher, and I am Stephanie Sarber and will be acting as your moderator. Next slide. Our agenda for today's webinar will cover welcoming and opening remarks and comments, background and overview of the study, study design samples and findings, results, factors predicting technology acceptance, applying lessons to CCWIS, and implications for design and implementation, along with closing comments and discussions. Next slide, please.

The purpose of this presentation is to provide the audience with the most current research on best practices for developing and implementing technology in social work. We encourage audience engagement and interaction. Now, I would like to introduce to you Dr. Philip Breitenbucher.

- [Philip] Awesome. Well, thank you so much Stephanie, and thank you all for being here. Thanks for the opportunity to present this research. I hope it's useful for you. But before we get into all of that, I would love for us to just kind of engage in kind of a fun poll question here. I would like to know, what is your favorite type of app? Now, the most challenging part of this poll question will probably be to pick just one.

So we have several options here, and we'll launch the poll. And your options are for your favorite app, is it travel, shopping, baking, social media, music, gaming? All right, excellent. I see lots of participation already. Looks like about half of you.

We'll give it just a few more minutes, or a few more seconds before we close out the poll. Some of you are in groups today watching this webinar, and so you may be debating on which one to select. That's okay. All right.

3/4 of you have responded so far, so just a couple more seconds and then we'll close it out. All right, excellent. Alright, let's go ahead and close the webinar, and, alright, let's take a look at these results real quick. So it looks like it's fairly divided, but the highest number, 22%, say banking and finance. Oh, I'm sorry. Social media, actually, let's see.

Yeah, social media, 22%, followed by shopping apps. That's what my wife would pick for sure. Then I think travel and, let's see, and music entertainment, actually that's second, music entertainment, that's definitely my favorite. So excellent, I appreciate you engaging in that poll with us. Now, here's what I want you to do. Now what I would like you to do is to think about why that's your favorite app, and then try to narrow down that why into just a word or two, and then type that into the chat for me and we'll take a look at what your, why you've selected that as your favorite app.

So just a word or two as to why that is your favorite app, and that would be awesome. Okay, look at this. Easy to use, access, not the type of app, just why it's your favorite. Okay, you can get information quickly.

All right. It's helpful for you. Yeah, it helps you stay healthy.

All right, very good. We're gonna keep you go ahead and put those in. I'm gonna get started. We're gonna come back to those in just a moment. So let me kind of introduce myself.

Stephanie kind of gave you my name. Some of you have heard my voice or have seen my face on these webinars in the past, but I've been in a social work practice now for over 25 years. Most of that time working in child welfare, starting with residential treatment, and then moving to a county social worker. I've worked pretty much every level of child welfare, starting in frontline investigations.

I was a unit supervisor, a manager, administrator. I directed a large technical assistance project on behalf of the federal government, and I continued to support and provide consultation nationally to child welfare practitioners today. Four years ago, I had the pleasure of joining as contract support, the DSS support team. And that really helped me kind of think back on my experiences of using technology throughout my entire career and, you know, being that as a frontline user and the benefits of technology or the mandates of that in some cases, right? Also as a supervisor, how I could manage caseloads and supervise caseloads, and then as an administrator actually oversaw a unit called the Outcomes and Accountability Unit, and we were in charge of ensuring quality data.

But once I came on the DSS support team, I began to kind of understanding data from a different perspective, really from the design perspective, and the implementation perspective. And that was really interesting to me. And then in 2020, I began my doctoral studies and began to think about what is my research topic going to be? And then in 2021, I became the director of the Office of Field Education at an Office of field education in a division of social work at a private university in Southern California.

And what I jumped into that position, the previous MSW or Master of Social Work Field Director left the university, and I kind of stepped into her shoes and was figuring out how I'm gonna do this job. And what I found out that, although we had a COTS or a customized off-the-shelf technology solution available to us, it really hadn't been used. So it really was of no use for me in doing this job.

All of the work was really being done by paper. Students continued to fill out paper applications, there was a lot of spreadsheets in multiple locations. And I was just like, wow, this seems challenging. Is this the experience that most social work field directors have across the country? So I began to research that with the desire to better understand why technology is not being fully embraced across all social work disciplines.

So we're gonna go into a little bit of the background and overview of the study. The study's title was called, the factors that influenced the use of cloud-based, cloud and web-based technology and Social Work Field Education Administration, and Application of the Technology Acceptance Model. So when we looked at the kind of the problem statement, social work education programs have dramatically expanded over the last 10 years.

In fact, they've grown by over 53% because there's a strong demand and need for social workers across, not just the US but actually internationally. And with those growing programs, obviously there comes growing numbers of students in programs, and that requires students being placed in appropriate field education placements, you know, in different community settings. And so there was a desire to understand how a commercial off the shelf technology solution could better support field education administrators with student placement process and potentially reduce workload.

Now, a little bit more background on this. Number one, COTS is a proprietary software product that is ready-made and available for sale for the general public at established catalog market prices, right? So that's kind of a common definition. Proprietary software usually refers to products that are purchased, leased, hosted on proprietary software products and software-as-a-service, or SaaS applications, which again, I think this audience is very familiar with those two terms. So in social work field, education, administration, COTS are the running norm. In fact, 70% of programs or social work field education directors have access to a COT.

And this was stated in the literature and it was confirmed in my study. However, many of them are not fully utilizing their COT systems, and we're trying to figure out, why not? Now, the caseload sizes for a field director in the US is about a 100 to one. And the best-funded programs, meaning that for every field director, there is 100 students that they must screen, interview, and place in appropriate field agencies. That also requires that everyone of those field agencies have an affiliation agreement and be screened and assessed for appropriateness of learning. So these are gigantic caseloads. And so you would think that a COT system would be very helpful for them.

So that's why this study examined the factors that influence the use of frequency of technology. I'm sorry, the factors that influence the frequency of use, of technology use in administration of social work field education. So let's go back into the history a little bit of social workers and technology, and their longstanding relationship.

And the literature takes us all the way back to really the beginning of our field, of our discipline in social work. And in the beginning, social workers really embraced technology. Starting with the automobile, the creation or the innovation of the automobile allowed social workers to do home visits much easier, right? They could travel long distance, they could see their clients, they could see more clients in a day, all of those things.

So they loved that innovation, that technology. Social workers continued to embrace technology with the creation of the fax machine. They can send referrals, they could receive releases of information and consent, et cetera. They even liked the creation of the voicemail. Voicemail was helpful to social workers. So if we go back to the history of technology and social work and that relationship, it was historically embraced.

Social workers has historically embraced technology. And it wasn't until about the late '90s when technology, specifically, what we called ICT, information computer technology, became misaligned with our values in social work. Late '90s, we also began to see more regulation in terms of managed care and also the government's Performance Results Act, which required reporting on public use of funds. And so, a use of public funds, there we go. And so then again, we begin to see that there was kind of this loss of control for social workers, that there was something that was put upon them versus something that they actually could just, you know, utilize to enhance their practices.

We also saw that many, in many places, computer programs, technology was rolled out without sufficient training or maybe even sufficient access. It was often specifically in social work locations where, you know, computers and were in lockdown facilities where you had to have key card to get into them, and then you had to log in with multiple logins and passwords, et cetera. Now, newer studies are really finding that social workers internationally are actually embracing technology. That technology is something that social workers use quite often. But what's interesting about the literature is that social workers don't always use the technology that's given to them.

And in fact, some studies are showing that while social workers are fully embracing technology, they're using technology, their own technology that may be outside of the agency's and maybe even in conflict with the policy of the agency. To note a couple, you know, major events or contextual factors when we think about the relationship between technology and social work, in 2017, the National Association of Social Workers, NASW, and partnership with the Council on Social Work Education created new social work standards, new technology standards for social workers. And those standards established benchmarks for social work educators.

What those were specifically were to, were social work educators are encouraged to embed the teaching of technology use in social work curriculum. Also in those standards, administrators were encouraged to use technology effectively and to use cost effective technology and to ensure confidentiality was adhered to, and that we were using technology in ethical ways. So we have these standards sitting out there that really encourage the use of technology and social work practice. And then of course, 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic forced social workers to fully utilize technology, specifically cloud web-based technologies. And during 2020 or 2021 on this webinar series, we hosted a webinar in which we shared lessons for how states pivoted quickly and reacted to the pandemic, where some states went completely mobile very quickly. Other states set up remote learning and training facilities.

And social workers were using Zoom platforms and other platforms to conduct home visits and to maintain contact with their clients. So again, while the history of the relationship between social workers and technology may be somewhat tenuous, it certainly isn't that social workers don't embrace it. So to study this, I used the technology acceptance model, or the TAM as the underlying theoretical framework to examine the historical challenges and the opportunities for social workers to embrace technology. The TAM was first created by Davis in 1989, and it provides three constructs or concepts for understanding the likelihood of using technology. The first construct is the perceived ease of use, and the second is the perceived usefulness of technology, and the third being the behavioral intentions to use technology.

Now, if you think of these first two concepts, perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness as independent variables, those things that influence then the dependent variable being behavioral intentions to use or frequency of use. That's kind of how this study was set up. Now, this technology acceptance model has lots of strengths. Number one, it's been around since 1989. It's been used in thousands of studies in different disciplines, in different industries, specifically with social workers and also with child welfare workers.

And it has strong validity. I mean, it's a very reliable tool and framework to use. Now the limitations, there are a few of them. One of the limitations is that a big meta study, meta-analysis conducted where they looked at hundreds of studies where they used the TAM or the technology acceptance model.

What they found is that the benefits of use had stronger predictive value in predicting intentions to use or frequency of use technology than did ease of use. Ease of use had a less predictive value. And when the researchers studied into this, or their conclusions for why this might be, is because there are other types of variables, confounding variables that may also predict frequency of use.

And that's why for my study, I had to add in a few other variables, those being access to technology. Some of the literature stated that there still is a digital divide to who has access to technology, maybe because of urban/suburban and rural areas, or due to gender or due to age. There are many, you know, other factors that might predict frequency of use. The literature basically says if they don't have access, of course you're not gonna use it. Another variable was the person's knowledge of technology. Many of the articles in the literature speak to people with greater knowledge of technology are more likely to be high-end users of technology.

They may find it easier to use and more beneficial to them. So we needed to add in the, the technology knowledge scale. Also literature speaks to again, that digital divide, those demographics that may influence the use of technology, the concept of digital migrants and digital natives.

Those people have grown up their entire life, you know, the newer generations where they've just used technology their whole life may be more comfortable in that environment. Also, other demographics may come into play. So we had to add a few more factors.

But at the end of the day, I use simple linear regression, which is a powerful statistical model used to test the five hypothesis which influence the use of technology in social work field education. And I'll walk through each of these hypotheses. The first one or the first research question was, does access to technology predict frequency of use? My second research question was, does technology knowledge predict ease of use, again, among social workers? My third research question was, does technology knowledge predict the benefits of use for social workers? My fourth research question or hypothesis was, does the ease of use predict frequency of use? And my final research question was, does the benefits of use predict the frequency of use? So, those were the questions we sought out, and here's some of the findings. First of all, the sample size or the sample included all social workers.

It was, a 62-item survey was sent out to field directors and follow-up emails were sent. The response rate was incredible. I conducted a power analysis prior to issuing the study. In that analysis, it was determined that I needed at least a 115 responses to have generalizable results. I ended up with over 150 survey responses. 128 of those respondents or participants completed the entire survey.

So they were included in my analysis. On average, each of the directors had at least six years of experience and were employed at their current institution for 7.5 years. So these were pretty much veterans, right? The average age was 49, so we're talking at least mid-career, nearly 90% identified as female. And again, all of the participants had a master's of social work degree, and nearly 23% reported having a doctoral degree. So experienced and educated social workers.

This is just a quick map of where the respondents or participants in my study took the survey. The platform that I used to distribute the survey provided me with longitude and latitude data, and so we mapped that out. So you see it's a pretty good disbursement across the country of where these respondents are from. So, here's some of the findings.

On average, social workers had high perceptions about the usefulness of technology. They thought technology is actually very useful. The use of technology scale or useful of technology scale has, it's a six-item scale in which they agree or disagree with certain statements like, using field management software my job would enable me to accomplish tasks more quickly, those types of questions. So they said, yeah, they had a high rating of that. They perceived the usefulness very high.

On average, social workers stated they use technology more than weekly, but not daily. And the question was very specific to using technology in their field placement processes, right, in their duties as a field placement director, so not personal use. Also, while social workers have access to technology, it did not predict frequency of use. So just by providing them with the COT system, as I said earlier, 70% of them had it, but that didn't necessarily predicted they used it in their processes as field directors.

The findings overall were very consistent with the literature with one important exception, which I will discuss. First of all, as consistent with literature, technology knowledge did predict both perceived ease of use and benefits of use at statistically significant levels and practically significant levels. You see the asterisk there with a P value of less than 0.001. So, and then we have perceived ease of use influences or predicted the frequency of use. So ease of use predicted the frequency of use at again, statistically and practically significant levels. Now where the findings are inconsistent with the literature is that benefits of use did not predict the frequency of use.

Now remember the social workers said that they rated the benefits of using technology as very high. They strongly agreed with the usefulness of it, but that usefulness did not predict the frequency of use. Also, I found no statistical differences in the ease of use or benefits of use by gender, highest degree, or program size. In other words, caseload.

So some of the literature stated there was some digital divides out there, we didn't find it in this study. Alright, so before I move on to applying these lessons or these findings to CCWIS, I wanted to just check in with Stephanie and see if there had been any questions yet or any comments that our other panelists wanted to make before I jump into lessons. - [Stephanie] Thanks Phil.

We have no questions in the queue at this time. - [Phil] Alright, no worries. Feel free to jump in if you do have questions, I'm happy to entertain those. I must be doing a very good job of explaining everything. I'm just joking (laughs).

All right, so I am a baseball fan, and one of my favorite movies is "Field of Dreams." And there's a very famous line in that movie in which it says, "If you build it, they will come," right? Many of you know that movie and know that line well. What these findings suggest is that just because you build it, they won't necessarily come.

In other words, just because you provide technology to the social workers or child welfare workers doesn't mean they will use it. Access to technology had a low predictive value, greater than 0.05, which means it's not statistically significant, and it predicted less than 1% of technology use. This really stresses the importance of providing the necessary training and ongoing support to frontline workers. Because again, what did predict ease of use and benefits of use was knowledge of technology. So ensuring that social workers really understand how to use the technology does predict their benefits and ease of use.

Lesson two. Just because technology could theoretically benefit their work, doesn't mean they'll use it. Again, in my study, social workers rated technology is highly beneficial. On a scale from one to five, five being strongly agree, the mean score was 1.45. So most social workers said, yeah, this is very beneficial.

And yet, those benefits of use did not predict the use of technology. And, so I wanted to know why not. So partly might be because social workers' view of technology usefulness is complicated. So the solution must be comprehensive. And what I mean by complicated is that it's a little more different than some other industries, some other industries or other professionals or if you ask somebody about benefits of use or usefulness, they might think just as you did when I asked you about what's your favorite, you know, you really thought about yourself, right? Which is okay, that's what I asked you to do.

You said things like it's informative, it's fun, it's convenient, it's efficient, right? It's easy to use. So, it helps me with my finances. These are just some of your comments.

And so that's typically when people use the technology acceptance model and they ask about usefulness. People think, well, how does it benefit me? Well, with social workers, the literature suggest that social workers view benefits of using technology in three domains. The first being just as we all did with your favorite app. How does it benefit us? How does it benefit, you know, the social worker, benefits the self. The second, social workers understand that technology needs to benefit the organization, right? There is a need for compliance, there's a need for reporting, there's a need for understanding outcomes.

We have an ethical obligation to evaluate our work, right? So we get that too. And the third domain being that social workers feel like technology should benefit the client. So this finding underlines the importance of practitioner-led technology and alignment with workplace culture to understand how we can make technology not only benefit the social worker or certain parts of the organization, but benefit all parts of the organization. All right, lemme turn off my laser pointer.

Okay, lesson three, keep it simple. Ease of use was the strongest predictor of technology use amongst social workers. So technology must be perceived as easy to use, and accessible and in supported with ongoing training, research research shows that when technology is difficult to use and access, social workers will use other methods, meaning they will go back to paper, they'll use technology outside of the system, they'll use their own technologies, they may even use technologies that the conflict with agency policies.

So those are generally the lessons. I did wanna take a pause here to see before we get into applying these lessons in design and implementation, if any of my panelists just wanted to make a comment on any of those three lessons, or if you have a comment based on your own experience, I see you, many of you as the experts in this field. When you think about those lessons, if any of those stand out to you, feel free to, you know, raise your hand, we can take you off mute or drop it in the chat, et cetera. - [Stephanie] So we do have a question through the Q&A Phil, and it is from Janet.

And her question is, is back a little bit before the lessons on how did you get all of the demographics extending to the east? Or rather, how did you solicit people in other states in the US to respond? - [Phil] Yeah, okay, thank you for the question. So, so yeah, so the, all the field directors are listed in a data set. And also there's an online database or online community called Spark, which all social work field education directors can sign up.

And so I use the accreditation list. So those field directors from an accredited master of social work program all got emails from me. And then I also used that Spark, kind of that, you know, social media platform to publish my survey and request participation. And so that's why I was able to get participation throughout the continental US. Hopefully that answers the question.

- [Stephanie] We do have a follow up question. I'm wondering, Janet, if you would like to ask the question live, we can have Jessica unmute the line. - [Philip] Yeah, I can read the question also while we wait for Janet. The question says, what about the risk and benefits of using technology? Oftentimes professionals feel intimidated about using technology in fear of leaking. So I'm guessing this question might be around, you know, using technology and information be hacked or that information, you know, I get you said leaked, right? So confidential information gets out there.

You know, that of course is always an ongoing concern. I would say, you know, I did not look at risk of using technology in my study. However, I did look at benefits, which is the first part of your question. And again, the participants in my study rated benefits of using technology as highly valuable. But there are, of course, again, I think that when you're talking about risk of technology, what's risky is that social workers are using their own technologies and technologies that may be in conflict with the systems. And I'll give you some specific examples.

Using their personal cell phones for texting clients, using social media to track down clients or to see where clients have been, those types of things. Those are where we're drawing fuzzy lines and we may look at some ethical concerns. Yeah, so Carol just asked a question and then I'll jump in here. Carol asked a question if we have any data about families feel about use of technology on their own or with a caseworker. So yes, thanks Carol for that question. Actually, I'm conducting a follow-up study right now.

We're building upon this quantitative study and conducting a qualitative study in which we're doing interviews with social workers and administrators about the implementation of CCWIS actually, or technology solution and a child welfare agency in the northeast. And the system they're using, they're sharing it with families or families have some access to their system, and they're finding it incredibly beneficial. The families are stating that they have a better sense of where they are in their case plans.

They're, I'm hearing in my interviews that it's building trust. It's also helping social workers build rapport with their clients. The social workers are incredibly excited. I mean, when we ask them what is the benefit, what is their best thing about this? So this new technology solution that they're using, they said that the benefits the families, that was their over and over again in our interviews, that's what we were hearing. So I hope that answers your question, Carol.

So I'm gonna move on to applying Kotter's theory of organizational change for technology design and implementation. Kotter developed this theory in 1996, building on earlier work of Kurt Lewin. He's well known in kind of organizational leadership models, organizational change models.

And he says there are eight stages, eight distinct stages for organizational change, for large scale organizational change. Leaders or organizations must go through each one of these stages in order to have successful outcomes. And he says there's these eight stages are needed because large scale organizational change is so difficult to bring about that the transformation process has each stage instead of three or, you know, two or three stages, right? You can't skip skip any of them. So today we don't have time to go through each stage and apply 'em to our CWS design and implementation. But I wanted to just point out a couple that might be helpful for us and how it relates to my research. Alright, let's see if I can get my laser pointer off.

Alright, there we go. Okay, so stage one, according to Kotter is this idea of creating a sense of urgency. And Kotter states that visible crisis can be enormously helpful in catching people's attention and pushing urgency levels. So what we found in following COVID-19, and I spoke about this earlier, is that IT and program managers quickly work together to expand access to technology and implement new solutions, right? Full states went mobile, people really embraced technologies all across the state, and those new technologies were introduced and quickly new training centers were launched, all kinds of things, right? Others examples, for instance, in this, in the county in which I'm studying currently I'm conducting some research, it was a series of child deaths that prompted, the urgent need to enhance their technology.

They needed more visible data to make better real-time decisions, hopefully to decrease the number of child fatalities in their county. Other places, other examples of urgency levels include just financial crises. Maybe the county has been sued over some practice issues or they may be out of compliance and having to repay funds, and/or workforce shortages, right? That there are just not enough social workers and caseworkers to do the work, and so there's a need for some automation, and everyone agrees with that, right? So it's not just one part of the organization that fills this urgency, but it's the entire organization.

Again, as I go through these stages, if any of the analysts that are on the line wanna jump in with an example, you're welcome to do that. All right, and this, again, I think as an alignment with some of the best practices we see in CCWIS, the implementation and design, is that Kotter says, the second stage is creating a guiding coalition. So after this, there's urgency. We have to do something, we need this guiding coalition.

And Kotter states this, the first step in putting together the kind of team that can direct the change effort is to find the right membership. Critical team member characteristics include position, power, expertise, credibility, and leadership. So really think being thoughtful, right about who's on this, this guiding team, this coalition.

A major source of res resistance to technology and social work is that feeling of loss of control or the perception of strict oversight and accountability. Again, this idea of the technology is put upon them versus something they build apart. So research suggests a practice-led approach to technology development where social workers play a key role along with IT specialists and other necessary partners is the best approach. So child welfare leaders must thoughtfully select an implementation implementation team in the customization of training and implementation, and support CCWIS IT systems beyond just, and the support of CCWIS and IT systems there.

Thank you. All right, go ahead. Did I hear someone wanted to jump in? Okay, maybe not. - [Stephanie] No, but with that- - [Phil] Yeah, go ahead. - [Stephanie] With that break, we did get an example in the chats from Tracy of use of technology.

Tracy entered into the chat. Some do virtual reality VR training during HR interviews, not to figure out skills or rate folks on their reactions, but to show a young person what it is actually like to go on a case worker call. - [Phil] Yeah. - [Stephanie] By yourself. Example, going into a very dirty home and what you have to deal with to help them understand expectations and provide real world examples. They're finding this technology has reduced their vacancy rate and increases retention.

- [Phil] Yeah, thank you for sharing that, Tracy. And actually that was one of the models that we shared in our webinar, I believe in 2021, on sustainable change that occurred post-pandemic. So yeah, absolutely.

That's a great example of how social workers and specifically child welfare is embracing really innovative technologies in their practices, in this case, in workforce development. So thank you for sharing that, and again, I welcome people sharing their examples. Okay, I'll continue on, but yeah, feel free to jump in Stephanie if others want to share stories and examples, that's really helpful.

So the fifth stage in Kotter's model is empowering action by removing barriers. So the model is actually empowering broad-based action, and that requires this idea of removing these barriers. And Kotter states this. With the right structure, training, systems, and supervisors to build on a well-communicated vision, we can tap enormous source of power to improve organizational performance. Now this, is also, you know, again, in alignment with the research suggesting that training and support has positively affected the use of technology.

When we, when social workers are provided with that support, with the training, their technology knowledge goes up, they then view technology as more easy to use, they view technology as more beneficial, they're more likely to use technology. However though, that support must go beyond just the hardware and IT support, and it must include the integration into the business process. So training just on the technology itself, right, just on the system and how to turn on a computer or how to enter data into certain fields is not as effective as it is when you integrate the training and support into the process of your daily work.

Kotter's sixth stage is gaining momentum by creating short-term wins, and the importance of actually generating short-term wins. So Kotter states this, a good short-term win has at least three characteristics. It must be visible, large numbers of people can see for themselves whether the result is real or hype, right? It has to be unambiguous. There can be little argument over the call, everyone must agree, man, that was awesome. That's a win. I can see how that's reducing workload.

I can see how that's benefiting our clients. I can see how that helps us attract funding, or we can respond to media in better ways, right? And the win must be clearly related to the change effort. So social workers must quickly see how easy technology is to use resulting in immediate benefits such as reducing workload or some of those other examples I just get. Now for leaders, and even for maybe this implementation team, they must systematically plan for these short-term wins.

So seeing where we're going to get a short-term win and then how are we gonna communicate that win to the agency, right to everyone across the agency? So large numbers of people can see this, so one way to do this might be that we're hosting, you know, regular updates or webinar meetings or Zoom meetings, or Teams meetings, whatever that might be. Or town halls, or going office to office. Kind of having people give testimonials.

So thinking about how do we generate these short term wins, and how do we systematically make sure people are understanding and seeing these wins is really important, okay? Last stage I'll cover today. And this is this kind of a combination of Kotter's 7th and 8th stage, and this relates to sustaining acceleration and then instituting the change. And Kotter states this, the first step in a major transformation is to alter the norms and values. After the culture has been shifted, the rest of the change effort becomes more feasible and easier to put into effect. So to apply this to this research, technologies must be carefully aligned with workplace culture, and as I stated earlier, that also means workplace processes, business practices, et cetera. The use of new technology solutions must become the expectation and the expectation should be carefully cultivated by leadership, right? Couple concluding thoughts and then we're gonna open up for some questions and discussion.

So what are the implications of these findings? I think for this group and also pulling back the lens again for the larger social work discipline is that by understanding the factors that drive the use of technology and social work can assist the expansion of technology and social work and assist in organizational change process to meet workload demands, which we're facing in all different social work disciplines. The findings from this study can inform the field of the need for frontline social workers to be knowledgeable with technology and for information technology solutions to be easy to use. Social workers knowledgeable about technology should lead technology development and customization to ensure cultural alignment and ease of use. And finally, the findings provide directions on all areas for social work administrators to lead and implement large-scale technology solutions to reduce workloads and improve efficiencies and effectiveness of social workers.

In order to fully harness technology for social good, which is one of the grand challenges of social work, right? We have 13 grand challenges, harnessing technology for good, social workers must move beyond merely accepting technology to fully embracing and leading technology efforts. Alright, I'm gonna go ahead and move into questions and discussions. And Stephanie, I think there's also a technical assistance tool that might be helpful, right? Or did we already drop that in? - [Stephanie] We did. We dropped that into the chat. Kim did, and that was the user experience self-assessment tool that is available through technical bulletin number seven. So she did enter that into the chat. We also have a question from Gabe that came into the chat, which is can you remind us how CCWIS treats reimbursement for ongoing training and support or technology solutions post-implementation? That might be more of a question for one of our DSF staff.

Is any of the DSF analysts willing to take that question or not? I can go ahead and CWAs training for entering data into the CCWIS system, is CCWIS allowable? If it's the technology related to the CCWIS, is CCWIS allowable for training both under development or under maintenance and operations? You also can explore when you submit your 4E plan, training has a category under there as well. And so you might want to talk to who does your 4E plan and look at what is CCWIS allowable and, you know, where you might get the best match for that training reimbursement or match. I hope that answered the question. If not, I'm happy to talk to it in further depth or send people to their analyst for that discussion.

- [Phil] Excellent, thank you. Yeah, I would also like to encourage other comments if you'd like to have your line unmuted, go ahead and just use raise hand function and we can unmute your line. And then while we wait for that, Stephanie, do you have any other remarks or comments you'd like to make? - [Stephanie] Nothing more from me.

Any of the other analysts that have any questions or comments that they would like to bring in, or experiences that they've had with what we're seeing across the country with user acceptance of technology? - [Phil] Alright, we have some quiet analysts today. That's okay. - [Stephanie] I do have another question here, Phil. And I'm not sure if it's one that you can answer or any of the analysts.

The question is from Roz, and it says, have any states tried technology engagement activities while using a legacy system and developing a new CCWIS system? - [Phil] Ooh. Well I don't have the answer to that, but I love that question. And this is another reason why I wanted to present this study, is because this is replicable.

I think that's a great example in that you could use the technology acceptance model in the, you know, transition phase. Also in the development stage, you could survey, you know, beta testers on the usability or the usefulness of it, as well as the ease of use. There's the, and then again, there's the TA tool as well that could be used.

So, you know, again, you can email the ccwis.questions@acf.hhs.gov, if that, you know, if thinking about how do you align maybe some evaluative practices that might be that you can, you know, borrow from this study and put it into place in your agencies or your states, I'd be happy to share that with you. - [Stephanie] I do see a couple more things in the chat that I think should be called out. We did hear from Patrick in Mississippi who says, we have had 84 volunteers involved in our OCM effort serving as trained ambassadors to foster total embracement of our new CCWIS across the state. This goes to enlist a volunteer army.

And I also see a comment in here from Janet saying, currently working with diversion program and my duties are to build rapport and relationship with the minor client. Many times, minors like to show me their favorite game application. Because my duties are to engage the client in participation, I find playing interactively with the client with the available technology very helpful. Great suggestions. - [Phil] Yeah, there's a great example, right? So that's, again, where social workers are embracing technologies that may not be, but it may not be within the systems, right, or the agencies in which they're working.

In this case, they're using a gaming app to engage their clients, to build rapport. So yeah, so again, there's not this this great resistance to technology. It's really about the usefulness and the ease of use of technology that we need to be thoughtful about. - [Stephanie] One of the examples, Phil, that I remember from early on southwest implementation also was related to the technology really meeting the workflow for the worker and that business process, which we will be having some upcoming webinars about, that business process redesign. And if the end users aren't engaged in that and don't adopt the new way of doing the technology and it's not meeting their needs, they will find a workaround, and that workaround could be a technology workaround, as you said, using some other form of technology. It could result in paper and pen, or it could be actually a workaround that they have found inside the system resulting in significant data quality issues and reporting.

So that's another area to, you know, really make sure as people are implementing new CCWIS systems, making sure that you are paying attention to your requirements, making sure you're doing that GAP analysis and you know, where necessary, looking at your processes and building in that business process redesign work. - [Spencer] Hi, this is Spencer and first and foremost I wanted to make a couple of comments. I, first of all, Dr. Phil, I really loved your research and some of the findings, and I wanna make sure that I speak a little bit to more about the CCWIS side of it and how it relates to CCWIS. You know, I think part of this, and here again, we have been very, very adamant about telling states and really trying to work with states around the fact that there needs to be a marriage between your IT development implementation and your workforce, and your program staff. And so a lot of what I'm hearing today really speaks to here, again, knowing your audience.

We have seen an influx in mobile apps being developed, and a lot of things that deal with accessibility. But one of the underlying themes that I hear in your research Dr. Phil, is that that may not be necessarily the right way to go. You need to really understand your workforce and build to that. You can have a great app, but if the technology knowledge is not there and they're not one of those folks that have grown up on technology and know how to use it, and know how to get the benefit out of it, you're gonna end up having an underutilized feature, and it's nice to have, but it's not really gonna meet your need. And so, what I'm hearing over and over again is to really tailor your CCWIS application to either your workforce as it is now or where you're planning on taking your workforce and supporting them through training.

Because the devil's in the details around how useful folks are going to view and adopt any application in order to really get the most benefit out of it. I love the polling question because I think that what it does is that it reminds me at least that I am no different than any other user of any other kind of system. And so I would say to look at some of those things that people responded as to why they like their certain apps, and see if you can build that into a CCWIS if you like the flexibility, if you like to have the information at a moment's notice, you know, use those kind of things and those kind of features to build into your CCWIS, hopefully to increase adoption. You know, if, no one has to market Instagram, no one has to market Facebook. There are things that people naturally gravitate to and start to use. And so how can we borrow from that, and how can we embrace that, and really integrate that into a CCWIS? So I just wanted to make a couple of comments about that and really try and push how you can use this information and integrate it into your planning and into your thought processes.

- [Phil] Thank you Spencer. Those are awesome and excellent comments. I really appreciate that. We did have another question I thought was pretty good. It came in by an anonymous attendee and they say, in my experience, frontline social workers indicate they don't use technology due to being so overworked, stressed out, et cetera. And just using the way they've always done things in quotes, right, as they believe it to be quicker.

And the question is this, was stress level workload, how overworked a person felt taken into account in your study as part of other demographics? Great question, and absolutely. I kind of alluded to this, I kind of cut down on some of the background. and I see we're short on time, but I'll do my best to answer this.

So, 100% percent, a large part of the study really looked at, and the need and actually proven, the need for the study is that similar to child welfare workers, social work field education directors are overworked. As I stated early on, the best funded programs have a 1 to 100 ratio, meaning they're placing and monitoring 100 students per year to one field director. And in many places, it's much higher.

The place I'm at now, it's more like 1 to 250. And so yes, it was clear in the research that these social workers felt overworked. They didn't have enough resources. You know, again, 30% don't even have a software. And so taking that all into account, we wanted to know, I wanted to know, well, does, if there is social work, if there is this technology out there that could potentially reduce your workload, what drives you to use it? And again, the final result is technology knowledge and ease of use. So, it was, yeah, that's the population we surveyed is those people feeling overworked and stressed out.

I hope that answers the question to the best I could there. All right. Stephanie, anything else before we move on to the final slide here? - [Stephanie] I believe that we have answered all of our questions, thank you. - Okay, so we'd love to hear your feedback, and so there's an opportunity for you now to complete a quick satisfaction survey. It will only take you a couple minutes.

You can use the QR code, which is on the screen. It's also been dropped into the chat, so you can grab that link there, or it will also pop up when you leave the webinar. So we really appreciate your feedback.

We try to respond to that feedback by enhancing these webinars and your experience each month. So with that, I want to thank Stephanie for the opportunity to present these, this research here today thanks to Children's Bureau, and thank you to all the participants for being here today. You know, a deep felt gratitude for the work that you are doing on behalf of children and families. And with that, that will conclude today's webinar.

Thanks everyone for being here, I appreciate it. - [Stephanie] Thank you.

2023-09-07 04:25

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