Family Services of Tulare County

“Since implementing Penelope, our organization is now able to monitor employee caseloads and client appointments to develop productivity benchmarks”

Introduction

Family Services of Tulare County (FSTC) was founded in 1983 as the California county’s first emergency shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence. The organization was named Family Services because its founders foresaw its evolution into a multi-service organization for families, a vision that was realized under the leadership of the nonprofit’s late Executive Director, Karen Cooper.

Today, under the direction of Caity Meader, Chief Executive Officer, FSTC programs include a Rape Crisis Center, In-Home Parenting, a Children’s Counseling Center, and Supportive Housing, and the agency is driven by its mission to help children, adults, and families heal from violence and thrive in healthy relationships.

An example of the incredible work being done by FSTC was captured in an article in U.S. News & World Report, which documents their Domestic Violence High Risk Team (DVHRT) approach that uses data to identify high-risk cases and improve outcomes.

FSTC has been using Penelope software since August 2019 and we checked in with Edgardo Monroy, FSTC’s Chief Program Officer, to get his thoughts on how the software is helping them to track client data in DVHRT and other programs.

What system(s) was FSTC using prior to Penelope?

Family Services has been serving Tulare County residents for over 35 years, and has used a variety of systems to document and store data for client services offered at multiple locations throughout Tulare County. The tracking of client data and outcomes has included the use of paper files and software such as Therapist Helper, Excel, and other Microsoft Office tools such as Access.

What was the main problem your organization was trying to solve by getting a new case management system?

The main problem was in the coordination of services for our clients. We were aware that our clients would access multiple services at our various locations, but that information was not centralized. This created a challenge for us tracking internal referral outcomes, as well as what services were accessed and length of service.

mother and daughter at homeWhat factors did you consider before making your decision?

We considered coordination of services (internal referrals) between our programs as a top priority. This involved researching various case management platforms that would allow us to customize how we document client data.

Why did you choose Penelope?

We decided to move forward with Penelope because it offered more customization for our agency. This was an important factor because our services range in focus and scope. Penelope will provide us with the opportunity to continue to add services and to further customize the system to better serve our clients.

What was your deployment experience like?

Working with the team at Athena was very easy to do as both Amanda and Danielle were very accessible. The level of support and guidance to our project team was really valuable in helping us to accurately document both the needs of our agency and funders. We continue to train staff both through the online learning center and with our representative at Athena.

What issues has Penelope helped your organization solve?

The main issue has been the centralization of client services. This is without a doubt the most valuable feature for our agency as we will in time be able to collect valuable client information that will help us to make better informed decisions in client services and agency operations.

“Penelope will provide us with the opportunity to continue to add services and further customize the system to better serve our clients.”

How would you explain Penelope to someone who has never used it?

Penelope helps our organization to centralize client information and to document client outcomes for our various programs. Penelope provides us with the opportunity to review our client data and make well informed decisions regarding service delivery and agency operations.

What measurable benefits have your seen since implementing Penelope?

Since implementing Penelope, our organization is now able to monitor employee caseloads, and client appointments to develop productivity benchmarks.

Would you recommend Penelope to other organizations?

Yes, I would recommend Penelope to other organizations such as ours because of the client service coordination. Being able to provide multiple services to a client and to evaluate their outcomes within those service areas is valuable because that information helps us to evaluate our work as we continue to focus on quality improvement efforts.

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