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Here is a detailed look at the design, development, and successful implementation of a utilization-focused, computerized information system in an agency serving children, youths, and families. This important book describes Boysville of Michigan's effort to create a model of information utilization designed specifically for social service settings, and details their unique attempt to integrate information technology and social work practice at every organizational level. Information Systems in Child, Youth, and Family Agencies covers Boysville's five-year endeavor to design, implement, and evaluate BOMIS (Boysville Management Information System), their computerized management information, program evaluation, and clinical decision-making system.
The book shows how practice-based research can contribute to broader practice-relevant knowledge for the field in general as well as for the sponsoring agency. It contains collaborative contributions by practitioners, managers, administrators, and researchers who were directly involved in the development and utilization of the information system. Many of the problems Boysville solved while implementing BOMIS are also likely to face information specialists and social work administrators in other agencies who are trying to integrate information technology with the practice needs of direct service workers. This in-depth case study helps them discover some of the ins and outs of setting up their own information system.
Information Systems in Child, Youth, and Family Agencies is divided into three sections. The first describes the underlying theoretical assumptions of the Boysville system and the organizational structures and processes that translate these assumptions into practice. This section is written largely by Boysville's research staff. The next set of chapters, written primarily by Boysville's practice and administrative staff, illustrates the programmatic uses of information provided by BOMIS. The last section illustrates how BOMIS data can serve internal organizational purposes as well as reflect on broader issues in the field and is written by members of Boysville's National Research Advisory Committee.
Unique in its collaborative authorship (by practitioners and researchers) and its dual focus (for agency decision-making and for knowledge development), this book is especially helpful for managers and administrators interested in promoting computer-based practice research in their agencies, for research consultants, and for applied researchers in the human services.