Laserfiche Solution Contributed by Steve Snyder, CIO/VP of Information Technology.
Chicago, Illinois is home to Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping youth in need by providing a safe and nurturing home. The organization offers therapeutic, vocational, educational, and life skill resources to at-risk youth and a mentoring program that fosters supportive and healthy relationships.
The focus of this article is the Friends First community-based and site-based youth mentoring programs at Mercy Home and how Laserfiche is contributing to their success. Laserfiche is helping though tracking of documentation. Much of the documentation is generated through the volunteer program. Community members reach out to Mercy Home to volunteer for the program. The volunteers go through a comprehensive review and background check to become a mentor.
The initial process includes many documents that must be signed by the volunteer mentor such as confidentiality agreements, commitment agreements, DCFS application, background checks, and references, among others. The commitment agreement and psychological examination are required to be completed and reviewed before the mentors can be matched with a mentee.
Steve Snyder, CIO/VP of IT at Mercy Homes explains, “It is imperative from our perspective that when a mentor agrees to be matched with a mentee that they are going to honor the year-long commitment. A lot of the youth have had situations where they haven’t had great relationships with adults, so the goal is not to add to their previous experience but to foster good relationships with adults who care about them.”
Once the mentor has completed all of the documentation, which varies slightly based on the type of program for which they are volunteering, they are ready to be matched with a mentee. Mercy Home matches a mentor with a mentee of the same gender who shares common interests and goals.
There are multiple programs for connecting the mentor and mentees under the Friends First umbrella, Steve explains.
The mentor and mentee can meet at Mercy Home.
The mentor and mentee can meet on their own and then venture out into the community.
Mercy Home also has relationships with corporations that allow youth to visit their mentors’ workplace, creating a more convenient environment for those involved.
The information gathered from the documentation allows an assessment to be made for the type of program that the mentor and mentee will complete. The staff at Mercy Home continue to monitor the relationship after the match is established, following the progress of the mentor and mentee to ensure the relationship is healthy.
Where does Laserfiche fit into this process?
Once the documentation has been filled out by the mentor, mentee or staff, it is scanned, the template information is applied, and then the documents are sent to Laserfiche. The Laserfiche features that are positively impacting their process include:
Templates -Mercy Home staff is collecting information such as the Friends First Program ID, referring to either the mentor or the mentee, document type, first and last names and document date. The Friends First match ID is a template field that is populated once a match is determined.
Naming Conventions – Documents and folders are automatically named by Laserfiche to ensure consistency and easy-to-understand names.
Workflows – The workflows in use currently are simple, such as creating folders, and renaming documents using naming conventions, verifying match ID’s and creating folders and filing records, and linking the mentor and mentee. The repository holds all of the documentation for both the mentor and mentee. Each has their documentation in separate files, but once a match is established, the records for the mentor and mentee are linked. A workflow searches for or generates a match folder for both the mentor and mentee, allowing staff to review and access files quickly.
Auditing and Compliance - The file review process is much more efficient for staff. Before using Laserfiche, staff would sit down with a paper checklist and folder and verify documents. Since implementing Laserfiche and tracking the Friends First program data, they now have the option of logging into Laserfiche from the comfort of their desk to review that all the documents exist for a file. The availability of records in Laserfiche also makes the audit process smooth with state auditors. Information is more readily available.
Mercy Home has successfully implemented this new process and increased overall efficiency for tracking all of the Mentor and Mentee data for the Friends First Program. They are only just beginning in their use of Laserfiche, but are continuing to grow their Laserfiche use with plans for integration and more paperless process enhancements to come.