DSS gets NACo award

Published 6:42 pm Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Beaufort County’s Department of Social Services has earned an award from the National Association of Counties.

DSS’s Human Services Document Management Development and Implementation project received NACo’s Achievement Award in the information technology category. The award will be presented July 21 in Forth Worth, Texas, during NACo’s annual summer conference.

“This recognition is very well deserved due to all of the hard work of the DSS staff to successfully implement this new trend-setting efficient case management system,” wrote County Manager Randell Woodruff in an email announcing the award.

“Congratulations to everyone involved, who were able to help develop this innovative program! Your hard work will yield positive results for Beaufort County,” reads an email from NACo to Woodruff.

DSS developed the Human Services Document Management System Development and Implementation project to better manage its cases, thereby better serving its clients.

“This award to DSS is actually the culmination of much work by the agency that was initiated long before my arrival nearly two years ago. Beaufort has been a trendsetter in converting DSS into a paperless system creating numerous efficiencies and freeing up space previously used for storage of hard files,” Woodruff wrote in an email sent to the Daily News. “Several years ago Paul (Spruill, former county manager) and the Board decided to fund the adoption of the Northwoods software system for DSS becoming one of the initial counties in the state to fully go paperless.”

NACo invited two representatives from Beaufort County to be its guests at the awards luncheon in Fort Worth, where Beaufort County and other award recipients will be honored for their achievements.

The department continues to implement new technology to improve services to its clients.

Earlier this year, 25 DSS social workers began virtually carrying their entire offices to home visits using new mobile software from Northwoods.

The department and Northwoods, a software company specializing in serving human-services agencies, formed a partnership to implement mobile software for handheld tablet computers that social workers use to access case files when visiting clients at home.

With those computers, child protective services and adult protective services workers may also complete forms, capture supporting documentation, take photos, record audio and input cases notes during home visits. Because social workers are saving time by utilizing Compass CoPilot, they are fully caught up on documentation and can focus more time on the families they serve, according to a Northwoods press release.

“Northwoods is proud to partner with the social workers at Beaufort County DSS in their mission to protect and strengthen families,” said Gary Heinze, president and CEO, Northwoods.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike