Colorado Department of Human Services is Modernizing Colorado’s Child Welfare System Trails

March 21, 2017

Published March 21, 2017.

In 2015, the Colorado Department of Human Services began the “Trails Modernization” project to rebuild Colorado’s case management system “Trails” using web technology. Soon workers will begin to see changes as a result of a modular or “phased roll-out approach” unprecedented in the field.  

Accessed by approximately 6,000 users through 87 unique interfaces, Trails integrates with 11 other state systems that track child abuse and neglect cases, provider licenses, children and youth in the youth corrections system, foster and adoptive services and data required to gauge program effectiveness and adherence with government safety standards. CGI Group Inc., the fifth largest independent information technology and business process services firm in the world, has recently been selected through a competitive bidding process to lead the next two phases of the modernization of the Trails system. CGI was previously selected to lead phase one of the project which included technical design planning, consultation with the federal Administration for Children and Families and many, many information gathering meetings with employees with county human services agencies and CDHS Division of Child Welfare.

“Trails is the backbone of Colorado’s child welfare system.  The existing, 13-year-old system is a critical component in desperate need of a major overhaul,” said Dr. Robert Werthwein, director for the CDHS office of children, youth and families. “This modernization will improve caseworker productivity, reduce data duplication and redundancy and streamline intake processes.”

Modernization will make the Trails system mobile-friendly, with a new mobile platform that uses cameras and GPS location capabilities, and remote system integration and secure access management – allowing workers to document cases offline and sync to the Trails system at their convenience.

“Our solution is focused on prioritizing the needs of caseworkers, agency users, providers, and most importantly, the children and families of Colorado,” said Dave Delgado, Senior Vice President, U.S. West Operations, CGI. “End users of Colorado’s Trails system are ready for new technology that will digitally transform the way they do business by eliminating duplicate data entry, providing simple navigation, granting access to mobile technology and providing enhanced reporting.  Most importantly, caseworkers want a tool that allows them to ensure the health and safety of Colorado’s children and respond quickly when emergencies arise.”

Trails was originally purchased from another state and tailored to fit Colorado’s needs.  There have been many changes over the years to Trails, as process changes occur and new requirements are identified.  There are also many limitations with the current system as a result of the age of the technology originally used to build it.  There’s limited mobile access, redundant data entry, missing data interfaces and other problems with attachments and reporting capabilities. Users have difficulty navigating a complex system, and the system has a slow response time due to a client-server based technology.

Thankfully, with this modular approach over a two year period parts of Trails will change so that caseworkers will begin to see improvements long before the project is fully complete. This will also mean that workers will be using a combination of new and old functionality throughout the modernization project.

First, intake and resource parts of Trails will be improved. This will begin with changes to system administration, organization/staff, intake, resource, and client / provider searches.  Followed by additional improvements in intake and resource, as well as assessment and commitment sections, case and fiscal.

Right now, selected users from various county human services departments from across the state who volunteered throughout phase one by working with CGI and CDHS Division of Child Welfare on the requirements documentation and design of this project are validating these first Intake and Resource Modules.

The Trails Modernization project team is dedicated to making this transition as easy as possible. Through a series of blog posts, beginning with this first post, the team will highlight improvements in functionality as well as training opportunities to keeping workers who use Trails updated and informed before you start to see changes. Sign up for updates on this page.

For detailed information about the Trails Modernization Project visit the Trails Modernization Leadership Committee webpage for the most current updates on scheduled activities including meetings.

For more information on "Trails", Colorado’s case management system that tracks child abuse and neglect cases, provider licenses, children and youth in the youth services system, foster and adoptive services, read the blog series on Trails or visit the Colorado Child Welfare Training System Trails Resource Center.

Back to the Blogs
Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline
Available 24 hours a day, every day. Don't hesitate to call and get help. 
Anyone witnessing a child in a life-threatening situation should call 911 immediately.