WebNews                                           November 23rd 2015 |  Vol 18, Issue 4
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CTG Launches Project to Enhance Local Gov't Shared Service
CTG is happy to announce a partnership with Digital Towpath (DTP), a nationally recognized digital government shared service comprised of small and medium local governments throughout New York State. CTG will help DTP improve its electronic records management so that local governments can operate more efficiently, easily comply with records management laws, increase public records access for citizens, and be more open.

A pressing challenge for small local governments is the issue of records management. The most efficient way for governments to maintain these records is digitally throughout the record's life cycle, however, this presents a challenge to governments with limited technical capability. Currently, many of these governments rely on paper output and manual processes that consume staff time, slow operations, increase costs, and affect citizens' access to government services.

This project will help DTP provide its local government members with the functionality to manage "born digital" records throughout the record's lifecycle in a cost and time effective manner, providing increased public access to critical data. By helping local government take a comprehensive look at their government information by addressing the policies, management practices, as well as technology issues, this project will contribute to more transparent and open government.

Overseen by CTG's Derek Werthmuller and Jim Costello, UAlbany College of Engineering and Applied Sciences students Reena  Sharma, Rahul Srivastava, Sneha Jain and Lalitkumar Borse
will analyze the existing electronic records management system (ERMS) to include a comprehensive mapping of the current code. This work, which the students will do as part of CTG's student lab, will help minimize the costs of developing the new software needed to enhance the ERMS. Experiential learning opportunities such as working with CTG and DTP on this project are designed to have lasting effects on a student's future career by providing them with real-world, practical experience to supplement their classroom education. Continue Reading...

Scholars visit CTG from Mexico
CTG's Research Director J. Ramon Gil-Garcia and Faculty Fellow Luis Luna-Reyes were happy to welcome a group of scholars from Mexico for a research visit in November. From L-R: Ramon, Rodrigo Sandoval-Almazan, Gabriel Puron, CTG Director Theresa Pardo, Dolores Luna, Sergio Picazo-Vela, and Luis. Together, the group is exploring digital government value creation from a citizen perspective in Mexico. They are also writing a book focusing on digital government strategy.

CTG Completes Critical Data Gathering Project for OCFS
CTG and its partners have completed a data-gathering project for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) that will lead the technological development for implementing the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), a federal mandate designed to collect information on youth leaving foster care.

OCFS partnered with CTG to implement the first five years of the NYTD outcomes survey, including conducting data collection for the first full cohort of the NYTD youth.

The NYTD was established by the federal Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in 2010 in response to more than 35,000 youth leaving foster care each year with little information regarding their outcomes once they exit care. To address this, ACF and the Children's Bureau requested that all states track and report on the independent living services offered to youth transitioning from foster care. In New York, the five-year collection process consisted of CTG, with assistance from the Center for Survey Research at Stony Brook University, collecting data from foster care youth at age 17, again when that cohort turns 19, and a final follow up at the age of 21. Data collected from the NYTD surveys can help inform policy and practice surrounding transition planning, anticipating the needs of youth once they leave care, and understanding what circumstances may predispose a foster youth to certain outcomes.

During the early stages of the project, a persistent challenge
CTG & OCFS accept the UAlbany President's Award for Exemplary Public Engagement
was that many youth were unaware of the survey. Additionally, youth in this population tend to move frequently or change their contact information. Recognizing the need to create a new component to the NYTD project, CTG and OCFS created the NYTD Peer Caller Program, which incorporated current youth in foster care in leading outreach efforts to the youth being surveyed. CTG found that having the peer callers serve as the face of the NYTD outreach efforts greatly improved the program's ability to build relationships with participating youth. This initiative, which received the UAlbany President's Award for Exemplary Public Engagement, resulted in a 70% increase in NYTD connections maintained with youth.

"CTG's dedicated efforts have been pivotal in helping OCFS understand how independent living services are being administered and whether they are helping young people achieve success," said Laura Velez, Deputy OCFS Commissioner of Child Welfare and Community Services.

When the data collection from the first complete cohort closed, CTG partnered with OCFS to identify a new project lead. Given their expertise in child welfare and their relationship with OCFS, CTG invited the Center for Human Services Research at UAlbany to assume responsibility of the project once CTG's contract ends.

CTG Launches Social Media Webinar
Working together with the Center for Economic Growth, the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany has launched a webinar series designed specifically to help local governments develop and enhance their municipalities' social media efforts.

The webinar, entitled "Strategies for local government: Keeping the cost of social media low," was produced in response to results gathered from a survey of CEG members in which they were asked to identify the most pressing challenges they face in the areas of information technology, information access, and community engagement. The responses from the survey indicated a high level of interest in the use and creation of a social media environment for the CEG Local Government Council Members. Continue Reading...

CTG's staff, alum & collaborators are among top cited authors in Government Information Quarterly articles
J. Ramon Gil-Garcia, Sharon Dawes, Luis Luna-Reyes, Taewoo Nam, Natalie Helbig, Devendra Potnis, and Tung Mou Yang are the authors or co-authors of some of the most cited
Government Information Quarterly articles since 2010. Government Information Quarterly is an internationally renowned journal that examines the intersection of policy, information technology, government, and the public.