The CWLA Experience

Last week I attended the Child Welfare League of America’s (CWLA) National Conference in Washington, DC as an exhibitor. The title of the conference was “Making Children a Priority: Leading Change” and was attended by more than 700 CEOs, directors, social workers, and other leaders in the fields of adoption, foster care and other child welfare services. While fewer people attended this year than previously due to many states restricting travel for Department of Children and Families’ employees, people routinely said that it was an informative and successful conference.

I am somewhat new to exhibiting, having only had an Accreditation Guru, Inc. booth at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Alliance for Children and Families conferences previously; yet found the CWLA conference to be very worthwhile.

I learned quite a bit about advances in the field of electronic case management solutions through organizations such as Handel Information Technologies and how these advances can be linked to voice recognition software like Dragon NaturallySpeaking by Nuance (which I am using right now to compose this blog post :-). Having worked with a number of social service agencies that are still typing case notes individually and do not yet have electronic records, I can see how an agency can greatly benefit by such software solutions. One particular time study by Dragon showed that family counselors at Youth Villages were able to reduce their paperwork time by as much as 55 percent by utilizing voice recognition software rather than manually typing. Handel IT’s RiteTrack can further streamline workflow, standardize forms and allow for easier reporting of program outcomes, which is increasingly important for social service agencies to be able to demonstrate.

Beyond learning about the technological advances in the social services world, I thoroughly enjoyed making new contacts and reconnecting with former clients and volunteers. I was fortunate enough to have a booth adjacent to Family Support Services of North Florida’s booth, a former client that I successfully lead through the strategic planning process. It was great to see the FSSNF team again!

Accreditation Guru, Inc. is looking forward to exhibiting at and participating in future conferences across the country. If you are attending the Joint Council on International Children’s Services symposium this April 16-18 in NYC, please stop by to say hello!

For those of you who were at the CWLA conference last week, how was your experience? What did you learn most?

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