Florida Agency Connects Affiliates and Applications
With the implementation of a child and case tracking system, the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office (FLGAL) provides the agency’s approximately 800 full-time staff with on-demand access to more than 25,000 case files across 50 remote offices in 20 judicial circuits.
The new system also provides employees with access to all other FLGAL data and applications, including Microsoft Office and the FLGAL timesheet and employee tracking databases.
FLGAL, a state agency established in January 2004, provides legal advocacy services to otherwise unrepresented children who are drawn into court for non-criminal cases involving abuse, neglect, and abandonment; foster care; and adoption. The agency provides effective legal representation, and it keeps tabs on the children to ensure their well-being.
Prior to 2004, FLGAL operated as a loose association of 21 affiliates across the state, organized within the state’s 20 judicial circuits. Shortly after the agency went live, it became apparent that a common Information Technology (IT) backbone was needed to ensure the accurate tracking of every case and child in the system.
After considering other, more costly and time-consuming alternatives to provide advocates across the state with fast and secure access to IT services, FLGAL chose Citrix Access Gateway, an application delivery infrastructure that was implemented by Bayshore Technologies, Inc. Citrix provides the agency with a single, integrated application delivery infrastructure that:
–Gives advocates instant access to case management applications and information from any place, at any time, and using any device, over any connection;
–Enables IT staffs to manage applications centrally, simplifying deployment, management and monitoring; and
–Ensures that only the right people have access to the statewide system, protecting the security of government information assets.
“The deployment of the Citrix application delivery infrastructure across the state will ensure the continued success and effectiveness of FLGAL,” said Bert Wakeley, director, State and Local Government for Citrix. “It will improve information sharing, case management, and child tracking across jurisdictions and offices. Ultimately, it will ensure that data about these children remains secure and private, allowing FLGAL to meet the privacy requirements mandated by the government.”
FLGAL officials examined several options for creating the statewide IT infrastructure, and decided that the traditional design – with 20 to 30 distributed servers in the network – would be too costly, resource-intensive, and time-consuming. Configuring more than 800 client devices would have required technicians to actually touch every machine, demanding hundreds of man-hours. Adding new users would have required on-site visits by a technician to physically set up their PCs. These actions might consume four to five hours per client device, not including travel between the 50 offices scattered throughout the state.
In contrast, setting up new users via the Citrix application delivery infrastructure took only 30 minutes, a time- and cost-savings of 90 percent. And with centralized administration of applications via Citrix Presentation Server, the three-person IT staff of FLGAL can roll out new applications to all users simultaneously. Under a traditional design, about 25 IT staff would be needed to manage the network.
“Just in network connectivity costs alone, we are saving over $405,000,” said Johnny C. White, chief information officer, Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office.
Through Citrix, 800 authorized FLGAL staff can access key applications from any office
or remote location throughout the state via Citrix Access Gateway and Presentation Server. In addition, FLGAL, which is developing a new case management application with its own independent logon, has taken a strategic approach to access by planning to use Citrix Password Manager™ for enhanced security and efficient single sign-on access to the new case management application, as well as all other applications. Password Manager will eliminate the need to memorize multiple passwords and greatly simplify IT administration.
Now, staff can transfer a case from one jurisdiction to another instantly, sometimes saving weeks of work, and ensuring that the newly assigned case worker always has all of the information needed to represent the child. In addition, with the application delivery infrastructure, about 300 people are inputting data into the system at any point. This centralized data collection allows FLGAL to maintain control over cases and visibility into the assigned caseload, ensuring greater accountability for a child’s whereabouts.
“If every state agency worked this way, they would have more resources to serve constituents,” White said. “Using a Citrix solution to deliver secure, on-demand access to information from anywhere saves an incredible amount of time and money, and allows our volunteers, case coordinators, and attorneys to better focus on providing the highest-quality advocacy for children.”
For more information on The Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office (FLGAL), visit: www.flgal.org.
For more information on Citrix Systems, Inc., visit: www.citrix.com.
For more information on Bayshore, visit www.btfl.com.