Cabarrus Co. buys iPads to help investigate child abuse cases

by: Tenikka Smith Updated:

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CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. - Sorting and scanning documents is a big part of how social workers input and gather information for child abuse investigations in Cabarrus County.

But soon, a group of investigators will be able access to those critical files and more with a few taps on an iPad.

Social workers currently use a system called Compass CoPilot to manage data and files. County commissioners recently agreed to spend more than $180,000 for a mobile version of the system. It will be downloaded onto 19 iPads. The cost covers the tablets, training and tech support for a year.

Derrick Heath is the program manager for Child Protective Services and helped push for the technology. 

"Right now they are using their own personal phones or cameras issued by the agency to take pictures of homes or children with bruises," he said.

He also said the iPads will allow them take pictures, video, record interviews, access a family's case history or check state databases in a matter of seconds.

"We envision doing the program will help speed up the process for making on-the-spot decisions for investigations when investigating abuse and neglect cases with the supervisors," said Heath.

In order to protect the information, the county has a secure system that allows them to wipe the iPads if they are lost.

Channel 9 spoke to one Cabarrus County mother who was glad to see the county investing in new ways to keep children safe.

"I think that's awesome. Anything to make the community and homes safer for kids, obviously as a parent, that is what's most important," said Heather Leavitt.

Channel 9 learned Mecklenburg County DSS is also looking into similar technology and hopes to implement it on a small scale later this year.