Child Find searches for IT improvements

Child Find Canada hopes to help bring more children home safely through a Web-based records management system based on free equipment.

Leads Software Inc.

and Hewlett-Packard Canada Co. Wednesday said they had given almost $80,000 worth of hardware and software to the Winnipeg-based not-for-profit organization. The solution will provide Child Find electronic forms that can include photographs, text information and multimedia files. Child Find assists in the search for missing children and provides education and prevention programs.

Eric Sommerfeldt, executive director for Child Find Alberta, says the speed at which information can be disseminated is crucial when a child goes missing, and the old paper and fax method wasn’t adequate in the information age. By the same token, however, he says installing the latest and greatest gadgets is only a first step.

Not-for-profits aren’t known for their high-end IT infrastructure and computer savvy volunteer staff. So when Leads suggested it donate part of its records management software, Sommerfeldt made sure the Calgary-based company knew who would be using the application.

“”This program they’ve designed for us is kind of goof-proof. You can’t screw it up too bad even if you’re a greenie, and that was very deliberate,”” Sommerfeldt says of the fill-in-the-blanks procedure.

Devon Ell, president and CEO of Leads, says the Web-based program was developed over the course of a year. The final product incorporates modules from its flagship product as well as some custom-designed ones as well.

The father and former RCMP officer decided to get involved about 18 months ago. “”We knew they did not have any software solution that helped them manage their cases, thought it would be the perfect opportunity to provide them with something.””

Ell says he knew he couldn’t connect Child Find’s 65 offices by himself so he enlisted the help of strategic partner HP, which has committed to provided PCs, storage and servers. Leads will host the Web-based application on an ASP model. Ell says he expects to have the system up and running by the end of November.

The next step is to get is to get other child finding organizations and law enforcement departments across North America on board.

“”What happens now is Child Find and police departments deal with each other over the phones, or they fax copies of reports or they visit each others’ office. Well, that takes time and there are delays,”” Ell says. “”By being electronic naturally they can share this information with police departments and help find kids quicker.””

Sommerfeldt agrees. “”It won’t be long before we can have the case active across Canada or across North America within an hour,”” he says, “”with full information being sent instead of a little note saying we need your help.””

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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