GRCCAC: Growing With Technology
- Organization Name:
- Greenville Rape Crisis & Child Abuse Center
- City & State:
- South Carolina
- Organization Website:
- Organization's Mission Statement
GRCCAC's mission is to end sexual violence and child abuse and the impact of these crimes through prevention, investigation, collaboration, treatment and advocacy.
- Impact Essay
In 2001, three unique, non-profits merged: Greenville Sexual Trauma Center (founded 1974), Prevent Child Abuse Greenville (PCAG, founded 1981) and the Greenville Children’s Advocacy Center (GCAC, founded 1998). This was not an easy feat considering the existence of three different missions managed and operated by three separate staffs.
Greenville Rape Crisis has a 35-year history of providing advocacy, support, therapy and more to survivors of sexual assault and rape. They operate a 24/7 emergency hotline staffed by GRCCAC personnel and volunteers who offer telephone support and accompaniment to the ER. PCAG offers parent education and support groups and primary prevention programs in schools, daycare centers, nursing homes, civic groups, churches, community centers and more. GCAC facilitates forensic interviews, medical exams and multidisciplinary team case reviews in investigations involving allegations of child abuse or where there are child witnesses of violent crime. GCAC also offers therapy and support groups for children who have been sexually abused and their non-offending caregivers.
Initially housed in two different buildings, the three programs re-located and created a common mission. One of the biggest challenges of this newly formed agency was a conglomeration of outdated computer equipment and programs. No two computers set-ups were the same, although many were using Windows 95. As a result, the staff struggled with compatibility issues, an inability to share files, and security issues that left confidential client and agency information vulnerable. Equally frustrating was the challenge of corresponding and collaborating with community partners who were using more modern systems.
Microsoft donations made available through Tech Soup enabled GRCCAC to acquire new technology and software. Today the staff operates through equipment loaded with Windows XP, Office 2003, and a Windows Small Business Server 2003. The agency also utilizes Exchange Server 2003 to share calendars, schedule meetings and communicate quickly and effectively. The impact of this transition on GRCCAC, our clients and partner service providers is evident in the following ways:
Prevent Child Abuse Greenville: In the “old” days, overall attendance at parent education and support groups was recorded with check marks on a poster board and sign-in sheets. Many participants in the 8-week classes were court ordered to attend. When the courts required verification of attendance, a staff member would pour through binders to find the original application and sign in sheets for each session. As participants could attend classes at multiple locations and were given no time limit to complete the series, this could quickly become a monumental task. Compiling data for funders involved even more paper and many hash marks. As these are frequent requests by the courts, funders and the community, valuable staff time was consumed in hours of research to compile and report the data.
Today, PCAG has expanded the program from two support groups and five 8-week parenting classes at six locations to thirteen 12-week groups (mandated and voluntary) meeting in multiple locations throughout the county. More than 600 parents and caregivers participated in these weekly sessions last year. It is anticipated these numbers will grow, as PCAG has added two fatherhood groups, in addition to the existing groups that include two specifically for Latino families.
Through the computer upgrades (including Access, Excel, Word and Publisher), PCAG has transitioned from an archaic, storage prohibitive binder system to an electronically managed system of tracking attendance, graduation rates, outcome measures, ethnicity, gender, size of family and more. This has accelerated PCAG’s ability to accurately report attendance, graduation records and demographics to the courts, funders and the community.
Volunteerism: GRCCAC’s volunteer program has expanded significantly through the use of Office, Internet Explorer and more. GRCCAC recruits volunteers through an online application process, maintains weekly correspondence with volunteers, and electronically manages the sign-up process for on-call volunteers. Furthermore, as volunteer hours are required as a match for many of our grants, the system is used to record, maintain and report volunteer hours more accurately and efficiently.
Outcomes Reporting: Although one agency, the three programs and their respective activities requires that GRCCAC track, record and report very different outcomes for each program. Programs like Access and Excel have enabled GRCCAC to establish the appropriate tools to track and evaluate the programs, each of which is easily managed and maintained by personnel with varied levels of computer experience and skill.
While GRCCAC has been fortunate enough to employ a few accidental techies, the agency has lacked the resources to hire trained IT staff. Outside of hiring consultants to set up the server, agency staff has been able to manage the system while still meeting their primary programmatic responsibilities. The simplicity of maintaining and utilizing the network, operating systems, and Office has created a self-sufficiency within the agency, saving the agency both money and time.
General Notes: Since GRCCAC’s technological upgrades, there have been other benefits, such as:
- Greater ability to track and report on finances and funding sources
- Facilitate frequent correspondence with local media, donors, clients and service providers
- Creation of electronic newsletters, statistical reports, annual reports, e-mail appeals, promotional materials, publications, brochures, and other awareness and fundraising tools.
- Development of standardized agency forms and applications
- Provision of enhanced security around confidential records and the ability to share those records confidentially
- Ability to back up and share files internally and between employees, clients and/or service providers
Seven years ago, agency employees spent a bulk of their time fumbling through paper, thumbing through binders of information, establishing filing systems, and tracking down paperwork. As a result of GRCCAC’s upgrade to a uniform system housed on a network, GRCCAC personnel now spend their days assisting clients. Last year, the agency provided 1,124 therapy hours to adults and children, parent education and support to 600+ parents and caregivers, support and advocacy to 553 rape crisis clients and 539 child advocacy center clients, 475 education programs for 13,611 participants including 10,200 students, and facilitated 220 forensic medical exams and 288 forensic interviews for children involved in child abuse investigations.
The resources made available from Microsoft and TechSoup have enabled GRCCAC employees to focus on the agency’s mission to stop sexual violence and child abuse and the impact of those crimes through prevention, investigation, collaboration, treatment and advocacy.
- Submission Category
- Optimize Mission Delivery