Why Juvenile Case Management Software Is a Necessity

By Paul Lindemuth

Former Assistant Director Juvenile Services, 20th Circuit Court
Juvenile Court and Services Consultant

Success or failure in working with juveniles is impacted by regular and meaningful interaction between the caseworker, the juvenile, and others involved with the youth (parents, school officials, etc.).  An effective manager carefully monitors caseworker’s daily work and responds with feedback, training or correction when necessary.

When I started my career in the 1970’s the only method a manager had to monitor my work was through the information I included in court reports or I gave my manager during discussions.  Unfortunately, this process was ideal for a caseworker who chose not to be thorough, who did not see their clients and/or did not respond appropriately to situations.  With little real oversight, youth did not get seen and therefore, did not reach the goals the court had outlined in its orders.

As an example, I worked with a probation officer/caseworker who unexpectedly passed away in the late 1990’s.  After his death, his manager found more than one hundred unprocessed cases!  Included in these cases were serious felonies and youth with multiple offenses.  The manager had his suspicions that the P.O. had not worked his cases well, but the worker was a master of deception and thoroughly fooled the manager, judge, and most of his co-workers.  Imagine the impact ignoring those cases had on victims, the community, and the juveniles themselves - why stop committing crimes when there were no consequences?  While this is an extreme case, it clearly illustrates why a manager  must monitor the work of caseworkers.

The good news, of course, is that we now have case management software and the technology to ensure a situation like the one above does not occur.  The use of juvenile case management software like YouthCenter can increase the confidence of the manager or administration that each caseworker is doing the job as expected…AND, the manager can monitor compliance from any computer 24/7!