By Felicia Curcuru (CEO of Binti) and Barrett Johnson, LCSW (Director of Business Development at Binti; formerly Program Director in Child Welfare, City and County of San Francisco)
Many states are interested in modernizing their state Child Welfare systems. However, state budgets are going to be tight this year with COVID-19 and the economic fallout. At Binti, we can support states to launch a new modern CCWIS system without any new spend and while reducing budget.
We estimate for a state with 5,000 youth in care, we can help launch a new CCWIS, drive significantly improved outcomes for youth, with a net savings of over $8,000,000 per year.
We believe our modern Child Welfare platform is a way that agencies can move the field forward while reducing budgets during this difficult time.
I (Felicia) started Binti due to a personal connection to child welfare and adoption. Our vision is to build software that helps every child have a family. We’ve built a modular Comprehensive Child Welfare System (CCWIS) with 7 modules built for Child Welfare from the ground up to drive outcomes and save social worker time. It has a modern, mobile friendly portal not just for social workers, but also for foster/adoptive families. Soon, there will be mobile friendly portals for foster youth, biological families, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) and other team members as well.
We launched over three years ago and we’ve quickly expanded to be in over 80 agencies in 15 states serving 17% of Child Welfare in the US with our first module, Approvals. We’ve grown so quickly due to measurable, positive results. Agencies who use our Approvals module approve 80% more families per year compared to before Binti. They also approve families 16% faster in terms of days to approval. We’ve also launched a second module, Placements, which is live in 40% of our agency partners. We’ve also now built out all of the modules to make up a full CCWIS solution.
For each module we build at Binti, we spend hundreds of hours shadowing social workers and administrators to understand the workflow, the north star metrics and the barrier to hitting those outcomes. We then build software that empowers the workflow, solves problems and drives real measurable results.
States are spending significant funding each year supporting legacy Child Welfare systems. All states we’ve talked to are spending millions per year and many are spending tens of millions per year.
Typically states expect to spend huge upfront costs to build a custom new system. However, Binti’s Child Welfare platform can empower states to launch quickly, without any upfront cost, on a system already proven in other states. We can take most states’ existing maintenance budgets and deliver a new modern Child Welfare platform for that cost without a large initial investment. This is because we don’t build the system from scratch, we leverage our platform that is live in other agencies and configure it to meet the needs of the state. This Software as a Service (SaaS) approach enables a faster launch, lower risk, and lower cost.
Binti is the pioneer for the Software as a Service (SaaS) model in child welfare. SaaS has dramatically grown in recent decades in the business world. It used to be that every business would build their own custom payroll software. Now there are payroll SaaS companies that cost just a few hundred dollars per month for this function.. Companies and agencies can save a lot of money relative to hiring engineers to build more custom systems. They also get a better system, since the SaaS payroll provider can afford to hire many more engineers since it specializes and spreads the cost over many customers. The company or agency also benefits from all of the feedback and new features launched, since all of the organizations using the software provide feedback on new features and innovations.
The SaaS wave has not yet hit government and child welfare. Each state still builds a custom system even though 90% of the needs are the same across states. Binti has built the first ever SaaS child welfare platform. We’ve spent thousands of hours shadowing social workers from different states and understanding what is the same and what is different by state. We’ve built Binti so that each agency uses the same platform and then we can quickly and easily configure different features that vary by state.
We’ve successfully launched in 80+ state, county and private agencies serving 17% of Child Welfare with at least one of our CCWIS modules and our launch time is under 12 weeks. There are several clear benefits to SaaS:
- Proven results: Binti’s modules have been used widely and achieved measurable results. There is not the typical risk of a failed launch given it has been successfully launched in so many agencies.
- Quick launch: As a result of an intensive and thoughtful design process, Binti can configure and customize the software and launch very quickly — we have launched in 12 weeks or less more than 80 times.
- Positive feedback from other agencies: Binti has successfully launched with over 80 child welfare agencies across the country. We have never had a customer discontinue working with us. On the other hand, the risks of more custom-built solutions have been well documented — numerous cost overruns and failed systems after investment of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.
- Ongoing improvement at no extra cost: Updates and changes are included in the annual fee, and occur quickly and on an ongoing basis. For example, updated forms or data fields can typically be completed in less than 2 weeks. Binti has never charged for an update or change to the software.
- Aligned incentives: Binti’s all-inclusive annual license fee includes the launch and use of the software with unlimited users, all configurations and customizations, comprehensive support for all users and intensive account management. This aligns the incentives of Binti and the agency, since each year Binti must earn ongoing business by providing new features, outstanding user support, and ongoing implementation assistance and training.
- Benefit from other agencies using the system: Given Binti is used in 80+ agencies in 15 states, Binti is able to dedicate a large engineering team that can iterate more quickly on launching new features than any agency would be able to afford on their own. Each agency benefits from other agencies using the system. Even though agencies share the broader platform, Binti is configurable so that each agency has their own custom look and feel, forms, data fields, etc.
- Enhanced collaboration to serve all youth and families: With Binti’s SaaS solution, both public and private agencies serving youth and families use the system as part of the all-inclusive annual license fee.
There are several ways Binti saves agencies budget, including:
- Faster approvals means higher federal reimbursement — Binti helps approve foster/adoptive families more quickly. If agencies take over 90 days approving emergency placements, they lose federal funding. Many agencies are losing significant federal funding due to this and have recouped 5x or more the cost of Binti just on this one line item.
- Social worker time savings — Binti saves social workers 20–40% of their time due to reduced duplicate entry, empowering their work flow, automating reports and enabling families to complete paperwork online.
- Reduction in congregate care cost — Binti enables agencies to approve 80% more families per year, helping children stay in a family setting instead of group homes. This drives better outcomes for youth and also saves money.
- Maximize IV-E eligibility — Binti can maximize IV-E funding by maximizing accuracy and robustness of eligibility tracking.
- Reduced cost of transport — agencies spend a lot of money transporting children to their school and community of origin. Binti greatly increases the number of options for homes close to a child’s school, and uses mapping and geographic matching to help agencies find the best home.This helps youth stay in their community and saves significant resources on transportation and logistics for staff and youth.
- Technology cost savings for private agencies — Most state systems cannot be easily configured for differences in counties or private agencies, and do not allow their private agencies to use the state system as their system of record. This results in a lot of extra cost for each private agency to procure their own system. If a state licenses Binti, Binti will launch across all counties and private agencies within the state.
We estimate that for a state with 5,000 youth in care, the savings can be over $8,000,000/year for the costs above.
Most states should be able to launch a new CCWIS System with Binti without any new spending, by leveraging their existing maintenance budget for their legacy system. They should also generate significant savings over time due to the increased efficiencies outlined above. Most importantly, they would get a system that helps them best serve youth and families. The net result is a new CCWIS system while also reducing budget and improving child outcomes.
Binti is modular and therefore states can decide to work with Binti for just one module, multiple modules or all modules. We have an API that feeds data between Binti and other systems enabling us to integrate with your state system if you use Binti for just one or a few modules. While we’d love to work with states on the entire system, we often encourage states to start small with a quick win. States can launch with just Approvals Module and launch within 12 weeks. They can see what it’s like to work with Binti, show a quick win with measurable results and then decide to add additional modules in the future.
To learn more and to connect with Felicia, Barry and the team, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to show you a demo of Binti and share more about our impact in other states.
We look forward to being a resource to help move the field forward during this difficult time together.