Abstracts of Volume 17 (1,2/3,4) of Journal of Technology in Human Services, 2000


Volume 17(1/2/3), 2000

Special Issue:  Human Services Online:  A New Arena for Service Delivery (Ed.)  Jerry Finn and Gary Holden  


Introduction by J. Finn & G. Holden 


The HIV Cybermall: A Regional Cybernetwork of HIV Services by M. Henrickson & J.R. Mayo.

KEYWORDS:  HIV/AIDS; Interagency linkages; Intranet; Program evaluation

ABSTRACT:  The HIV Cybermall is a computer network and transportation system designed to link case managers at 18 partner agencies.  The purpose of the project is to enhance and evaluate HIV-related medical, dental, drug treatment and psychosocial service delivery to people living with HIV in northern Los Angeles County. Participating agencies decided that the most important aspects of any linkage computer system were user-accessibility, cost-feasibility, and security of information.  The investigators then designed a password-controlled wide-area network with a shared intake template and layered access to information.  This network was combined with training sensitive to the particular needs of the agency worker, technical support, shared governance, and an integrated transportation system.  The project intranet has two elements: (1) a closed, private network for confidential communication and information exchange, and (2) access to the public Internet.  A key element in the project was the need to work closely with agencies in order to develop staff confidence and investment in the project.  The article describes the organizational processes that were essential for the successful design and implementation of this network.  The article also outlines system hardware, software, security specifications and evaluation process. A website was also published at www.HIVCybermall.org.


The Effects of a Computer Network on Pediatric Pain and Anxiety by G. Holden, D.J. Bearison, D.C. Rode, K.M. Fishman & G. Rosenberg 

KEYWORDS: Pediatric, Computer, Pain, Anxiety, Network, Randomized controlled clinical trial

ABSTRACT:  The objective of this study was to test the impact of an enhanced version of STARBRIGHT World (SBW2) -- a private computer network for hospitalized children. The impact of SBW2 was assessed with a series of 44 replicated single system designs. Utilizing an ecological momentary assessment approach, self-reports were obtained regarding children’s perceptions of their pain intensity, pain aversiveness and anxiety. The results from the single system designs were aggregated using meta-analysis. Children experienced significantly less pain intensity, pain aversiveness, and anxiety in the SBW2 condition.  These findings provide evidence regarding the effectiveness of SBW2 and demonstrate the utility of employing meta-analysis with single system designs.


Changing Practices with Children and Families in North Carolina: Using Technology to Facilitate by I.N. Zipper, A. Broughton, & L. Behar. 

KEYWORDS: 

ABSTRACT:  A new approach to services for children with serious emotional disturbance and their families calls for the development of systems of care. Family members participate in all aspects of service delivery, including designing, developing, and delivering services. Training and technical assistance are essential, as service providers need new skills in working with children, family members, service providers, and others in the community; and a new understanding of integrated, community-based services.  Technology offers new possibilities for delivering such training. In North Carolina, the Internet is used to share information, plan training events, provide training, and exchange materials among training coordinators located around the state.


A Survey of Domestic Violence Organizations on the World Wide Web by J Finn

KEYWORDS: Domestic violence, Internet, World Wide Web, Nonprofit, Online therapy

ABSTRACT:  This paper presents the results of an exploratory study of one hundred sixty-six domestic violence organizations that use the World Wide Web. Domestic violence agencies primarily used the Web to promote agency visibility and provide community education, and to a lesser extent for advocacy, direct services, and securing resources. Agency satisfaction with their Website is generally high, although more than one-third of agencies reported problems. Related issues discussed include Web-based sources of client victimization, agency legal liability, agency vulnerability to online disruption, the need to create access for low-income clients, and evaluation of Web services.


Computer Utilization and Community-Based AIDS Organizations by P.J. Cameron, J.R. Graham, & J. D. Sieppert. 

KEYWORDS: HIV/AIDS, Internet, Information Technology, Computer, World Wide Web

ABSTRACT:  This study explores the computer utilization patterns of 107 community-based AIDS organizations in Canada. A questionnaire examined the current hardware/software capacities of agencies, knowledge and use of the Internet and its capabilities as a tool for psychosocial support, and barriers to computerized service provision. It also explored consumers’ utilization and knowledge of computer-mediated technologies, and barriers to service. Results suggest agencies have resource-related dilemmas, relating to limited finances, time and personnel capacities. Consumers are challenged by a lack of access to computers, limited awareness of computer-mediated technologies, and other inhibiting factors. Future directions for community-based AIDS organizations are considered.


Virtual Volunteering: online volunteers providing assistance to human service agencies by J. Cravens 

KEYWORDS: Virtual Volunteering, Volunteer Management, Cyber Culture, World Wide Web, Volunteer

ABSTRACT:  A growing number of agencies involve volunteers via home or work computers and the Internet. The Virtual Volunteering Project [http://www.serviceleader.org/vv/] has researched and worked with more than 100 organizations involving online volunteers to document the benefits of online service for agencies, volunteers and audiences served, and to disseminate ways agencies can incorporate virtual volunteering into their organizations. This paper describes the Virtual Volunteering Project and summarizes data from a variety of sources that highlight the activities of agencies and volunteers engaged in virtual volunteering and the factors associated with success in virtual volunteering programs.


Online Fundraising in the Human Services by J. D. Marx 

KEYWORDS: Internet, Online, Fundraising, Human Services, Technology

ABSTRACT:  This article examines emerging possibilities for use of the Internet in human service fundraising.  Human service managers must compete for limited funds with their counterparts in educational, religious, health, and other nonprofit organizations.  There is enormous potential for raising funds over the Internet; yet, this approach to resource development may not be appropriate or effective in some instances for certain human service agencies.  The selection of fundraising approach must be consistent with the organizational context in which it is used.  This article provides examples of cases where use of the Internet may prove to be an effective method for human service fundraising.  It also examines cases where use of the Internet may not be a good match for the organizational context, whether in terms of ethics or dollars raised.


Liability and the Internet: Risks and Recommendations for Social Work Practice by M. Banach & F.P. Bernat, 

KEYWORDS: 

ABSTRACT:  Use of the Internet for counseling and information services has increased dramatically in the last five years. Although the Internet may benefit consumers by helping them secure needed services and resources, social workers and social service agencies who provide counseling over the Internet need to be aware of the legal risks associated with its use. Among the most salient concerns that need to be addressed are client confidentiality and privacy of records, appropriateness of treatment services, and the duty to warn others of harm that a client might pose to them. This article looks at these legal concerns in light of appropriate Social Work practice and recommends methods to abate the risks that might occur when Internet counseling and service is provided.


INTERNET: A Framework for Analyzing Online Human Service Practices by J. Levine

KEYWORDS: Internet, Ethical Dilemmas, Human Services, Ethics

ABSTRACT:  The Internet and related electronic communication technologies are used by human service professionals for many functions ranging from the storage and transmission of sensitive medical information to online counseling. Yet, there are many aspects of telecommunications law that work against privacy and thus the potential for ethical dilemmas has increased. This article explores and discusses the complex reasons contributing to these ethical dilemmas. The paper also presents a human service oriented framework, INTERNET, for analyzing and resolving these dilemmas.


The Community Tool Box: Using the Internet to Support the Work of Community health and Development by J. Schultz, S.B. Fawcett, V.T. Francisco, T. J. Wolff, B. R. Berkowitz, & G. Nagy. 

KEYWORDS: Internet, Community Development, Support System

ABSTRACT:  Despite limited preparation through formal and non-formal education, local people throughout the world are engaged in the common work of building healthier communities. Some core competencies—including community assessment, planning, mobilization, and evaluation—are needed to address the variety of issues that matter to local communities. This report describes an Internet-based support system for community work known as the Community Tool Box (CTB) [http://ctb.lsi.ukans.edu/]. We examine the idea and origins of the CTB and its core content, access features, and applications. We review evidence for its use, implementation and dissemination strategies, and discuss core values that guide this internet-based work.


Promoting Computer-mediated Communications in Community Coalitions by P. K. Dezendorf & R. K. Green. 

KEYWORDS: Community Coalitions, Computer-Mediated Communications, Innovation Diffusion, Computers, Internet.

ABSTRACT:  Community coalition participants are adopting new communication tools. This article identifies issues involving adoption of one type of communication tool, computer-mediated communications (CMC), based on a review of relevant literature and a recent exploratory research study of CMC adoption by community coalitions. Suggestions for aiding adoption and anticipating problems are presented and some social justice and professional value issues are highlighted.  Human service professionals whose work involves community coalitions may find the theoretical background and practical advice useful in anticipating and responding to CMC changes in coalitions.


Offering Social Support via the Internet: A Case Study of an Online Support Group for Social Workers by A. Meier 

KEYWORDS:  Online Support Groups, Job Stress, Social Workers

ABSTRACT:  Human service professionals have begun to explore the Internet’s potential as a therapeutic medium for individuals, families and groups, but we still know very little about the ways that Internet-mediated communication affects interventions. This paper uses examples from a recent study of a short-term, listserv-based support group that helps social workers cope with job stress to discuss issues related to the use online support groups. 


The nature and prevention of harm in technology-mediated self-help settings: Three exemplars By V. R. Waldron, M. Lavitt, & D. Kelley. 

KEYWORDS: Internet, Support Groups, Communication, Harmful effects

ABSTRACT:  This paper argues that in addition to the substantial benefits they provide for members, on-line support groups create the potential for harm. Qualitative discourse analysis methods are used to examine messages exchanged in three distinct groups comprised of sexual abuse survivors, persons with disabilities, and parents. Examples of on-line practices with the potential to be harmful to individuals, dyadic relationships, and the larger group are identified. Several protective practices used by these groups that appear uniquely adapted for on-line support environments are also documented. Tentative guidelines are suggested for human services professionals interested in developing on-line support groups or referring clients to existing groups. The paper concludes with a discussion of the need for more research and a caution about the ethical responsibilities of researchers and practitioners who venture into this rapidly developing context of human service work.


The Requirements of Community:  An online survey of the Social Work Access Network (SWAN) by M. Wright 

KEYWORDS:  Keywords: Paperless Survey, Community, Online, Web Research, Portal, Metasite

ABSTRACT:  This study details the typical user profile of visitors to the Social Work Access Network (SWAN) Website. The online survey methodology is discussed along with data that benchmarks expected response rates for this method. User preferences for additional content and interactive opportunities as well as user satisfaction with the current site are described. It is concluded that the social work professionals must seek new ways to define, organize and implement a portal on the World Wide Web by building partnerships among sites offering social work content. In support of this, SWAN must evolve to provide a platform for discussion among the social work community through online gatherings using chat and bulletin board technologies.


Holden, G. & Finn, J. Conclusion


Volume 17(4), 2000  


An Assessment of the Utilization of a Computerized Decision Support System for Youth Probation Officers by Riki Savaya, , Menachem Monnickendam, and Mark Waysman

KEYWORDS: DSS, human-service, utilization, probation, computer

ABSTRACT:  This paper presents an assessment of a decision support system (DSS) to assist youth probation officers in selecting their recommendations to the courts. The evaluation employed mixed methods in a sequence of four stages: (1) Qualitative assessment of the impact of the DSS via interviews with senior administrators and analysis of documents; (2) Qualitative assessment of staff responses to the DSS, via focus groups and personal interviews; (3) Quantitative assessment of system utilization, via statistical analysis of data bases; and (4) Quantitative assessment of DSS utilization and its predictors, via administration of a battery questionnaires to all youth probation officers throughout the country. Quantitative findings showed a low rate of utilization of the DSS by the youth probation officers and this is discussed and interpreted in light of the qualitative information stemming from the interviews.


An Evaluation of Simulations in Developmental Disabilities (SIDD):  Instructional Software that Provides Practice in Behavioral Assessment and Treatment Decisions by M. N. Desrochers, T. Clemmons, M.Grady, and B. Justice

KEYWORDS: Computer-aided instruction; simulation; functional assessment; behavioral treatment; software evaluation

ABSTRACT:  Simulations in Developmental Disabilities: SIDD is a multimedia computer program designed to provide undergraduate psychology students with practice in making assessment and treatment decisions. Eighteen undergraduate psychology students participated in an experiment to test the instructional effectiveness of SIDD. Post-test scores were significantly higher in the experimental group who received training with SIDD than in a control group who did not receive training. The students also rated the software positively. Future strategies to further evaluate the software are discussed.


All Aboard the Runaway Technology Train: Adjust the engine speed or die by Bonnie Winfield 

KEYWORDS:  distance learning, feminist pedagogy, human service education, adult learners

ABSTRACT:  Quality distance education cannot be accomplished without a critical discussion of the tools, which make it possible.  This paper is a case study of a course in which interactive condensed video technology was used to join two classrooms with the use of feminist and other participatory pedagogies.  It includes suggestions on how to use the technology to promote interaction and a discussion of the tradeoffs of using distance learning technology. 


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