Kinark Child and Family Services is Ontario’s largest non-profit children’s mental health centre, with 10 offices across the province and about 700 employees. Each time a case worker visits a child, he or she must add a note about the visit to a client information system as quickly as possible. Fast
updates are important, because 45 other agencies rely on information in the system and there could be an emergency involving one of Kinark’s clients at any time, says Joseph Haynes, director of systems and property.
Since case workers sometimes have to travel long distances to visit clients, returning to the nearest office to enter these notes could be onerous.
Supporting the remote offices was also a chore for Haynes and his small staff.
“”I have a staff of 2.5 people to support the whole province.””
Kinark installed Citrix Systems’ MetaFrame XP remote access software. Having moved all its servers to its main office in Markham, Kinark now relies on MetaFrame to provide access to the client information system and other applications from the remote offices and from employees’ home computers.
MetaFrame can also be used to allow access to computers with Internet access and able to download a small software client. Case workers can now go straight home or to another location after a client visit and enter their notes from there, Haynes says.
Because applications are centralized, technicians no longer have to drive to remote offices to look at misbehaving servers.
“”The guy walks down the hall and goes in the server room and fixes it,”” Haynes says.
The need to download client software is sometimes a limitation, Haynes says, because some Internet cafes block such downloads. IT Weapons, which installed Kinark’s system, is working on a clientless implementation.
Haynes says he is also interested in supporting access from wireless clients, but is not sure the networks are quite ready yet.