Custom Software for Agency

New Horizons Ministries is a faith-based non-profit organization located in Canon City, CO. When they began nearly 25 years ago, they focused on providing foster care for children of incarcerated mothers. Over time, they’ve expanded their foster care to work not only with the Department of Corrections but also to work with the local Department of Human Services to provide care for local children in need.

Foster placement agencies have extensive documentation requirements. While it was manageable with a small number of cases, the paper trail became increasingly difficult to manage as the caseload grew.

That’s when they got in touch with me regarding a software solution.

We started with two intense, exhausting interviews–each one lasting several hours. Although these meetings were intense, they weren’t technical. Instead, we covered questions such as:

  • What are the specific pieces of information that you need to track?
  • Are there recurring deadlines associated with this information?
  • What information is required? How does information depend on other information?
  • What kind of reports do you need to generate from your solution?
  • Who needs to access this information, and how do they need to use it? Will it meet everyone’s needs?

Once our team got a clear understanding of their workflow, we designed a custom business solution that allowed them to centralize all their documentation requirements. For example, through our discussion we discovered nearly 18 different deadlines that needed to be tracked for every case, ranging from state certification deadlines to car insurance.

Although the team was happy with the way the solution represented their workflow, they still experienced a significant learning curve as they learned the new software solution. However, within a few months of settling into the new routine, they started offering a few suggestions to further streamline their process. Over the next year, we continued refining the solution to meet their precise needs.

Today, the team can’t imagine going back. Not only has the solution allowed them to meet the increased demands of a growing caseload, it has also allowed them to raise the quality of their documentation while spending less time doing it. Several of their staff each estimated saving a few hours each week–hours that are extremely precious in a tight schedule. (And that only included their time savings in routine, weekly documentation.)