Customer Story

Lenoir County Boosts Productivity and Client Service in Child Support

Child support caseworkers have the tools they need to produce timely documents and access critical information, even in court. They’re less stressed and have more time to focus on casework, not paperwork.


A high caseload and antiquated case management system was overwhelming Lenoir County Department of Social Services’ (DSS) child support caseworkers. Producing court orders and motions was a manual, tedious process. Caseworkers also lacked access to critical case information in court.

With Northwoods’ document management solution, caseworkers are exceeding timeframes for case closure and court orders, can electronically view and collect documents in court, and have more time to locate non-custodial parents. The improved productivity ultimately helps the families Lenoir County DSS is dedicated to serve.

“Timeframes are a big, big part of child support. So any system or anything that we get to help us streamline that process and help us meet our timeframes, the better off we are. And the better we’ll be in meeting what the state and feds require from us.”


Child Support Program Manager, Lenoir County Department of Social Services


Manual processes frustrated child support caseworkers who worked hard to meet mandated timeframes. The overarching issue was the inefficient way caseworkers had to capture and retrieve case documentation through previous imaging systems that were not designed specifically for human services.

Time-consuming processes.

Caseworkers felt stuck managing paperwork when they wanted to do real casework: locate noncustodial parents, return phone calls, or create show causes to get clients in court. Worst of all, they felt like they were letting down the families they work to help. “It's just so much paperwork. It's hard on me because you know that the families aren't getting the money they need for that month,” said Tammy Baldwin, Child Support Agent II.

Creating court orders.

Court orders were commonly edited by hand for corrections, meaning they could take months to complete internally. This jeopardized the agency’s ability to fully establish cases within the required 90-day time frame after locating the noncustodial parent.

Lack of access in court.

The agency stored laptops in the clerk’s office in the courthouse, but caseworkers could not quickly find or pull up case documents or information using previous document management systems. "It's just embarrassing for me when I can't provide information when the judge is asking for it. It's very stressful. I don't feel like I can get anything accomplished," said Debbie Martin, Child Support Supervisor.


Lenoir County DSS combined Northwoods’ document management software and Laserfiche’s enterprise content management system to intuitively scan, store, and retrieve critical data. Northwoods’ Compass® Pilot is the user interface caseworkers use to manage case information and documents, and Laserfiche Rio is the centralized document repository that electronically stores the documents.

The combination allows caseworkers to index and retrieve documents and notes easily and securely. Documents are organized in a child support-specific taxonomy, so caseworkers can look up a client and quickly see categories of documents to find the right one.

“They are not having to guess 'Where do I find this? Or where do I find that?' It's all right there at your fingertips,” said Melissa Kennedy, Child Support Program Manager.

Lenoir County DSS also used Pilot to create template court orders and motions with current legal language, which can be updated as the law changes.

Caseworkers can autofill basic client information, select the correct legal language, and add case-specific details into an electronic form, which can be saved, reviewed, and modified by anyone involved at any step. The new process has reduced the number of court orders being returned to caseworkers because the supervisor, paralegal, or attorney can easily make modifications without restarting the process.

“Before Compass Pilot, I would probably get back a third to half of my orders with a request to tweak the language in the order. Now I rarely see any of my orders come back. If there is a correction to be made, typically my supervisor will catch it, or the attorney will just f ix it herself because it’s so easy for her to do it in Compass Pilot,” said Jordan Jones, Child Support Agent II.

Staff Attorney Cheryl Spencer added, “The process is streamlined and it’s more efficient. It makes it easier to correct things; it makes it faster to get orders to the judges.”

At the courthouse, caseworkers and supervisors have access to a laptop with Northwoods’ software to electronically view every document, form, and piece of information related to a client or case. They can print the information out if requested by the judge. They can also use a scan station stored in the clerk’s office to immediately scan and automatically index clients’ documents, signed court orders and motions, or signed support agreements.

"We can do a lot of court orders in court and we're able to get them signed by the judge and scanned in. When the workers return to court the next day a lot of the orders that they typically wait for sometimes weeks at a time are already available so they can process those," said Melissa Kennedy, Child Support Program Manager.


Caseworkers can process their cases faster, meet mandated timeframes, and electronically view and capture documents and information in court. This boost in productivity and client service has helped improve staff morale and lowered their stress level.

Impact on case closure.

The case closure rate increased from 94.4% in March 2015 to 97.5% in June 2016, well above the 75% required closure rate.

Creating accurate, timely court orders.

Jones conservatively estimates that not getting orders back saves her 5 hours per month just in correction time alone. Caseworkers are required to get court orders to a judge within 5-7 business days and they’re getting them done in a day.

Quickly and easily creating motions.

“Workers generate four and five motions a day because they are so easy. They are current on all of their motions, which is helping the clients and we’re getting them on the calendar quicker. I get less complaints that the motion hasn’t been filed because now they are filed usually within a day after they come in,” said Charmin Smith, Child Support Enforcement Supervisor.

Getting financial support to families.

By improving client service in court, the biggest benefit is to custodial parents who need financial support for their families. "The sooner we can get the orders signed, the sooner we can get them keyed into the system, the sooner families can get their money,” Jones said.




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