Solutions

Nationwide organization helps find missing children with data managed by FileMaker Pro

Polly Klaas Foundation

"Making America Safe For All Children." That's the slogan of the Polly Klaas Foundation, working for more than a decade to help locate missing and endangered kids and to help their families coordinate efforts with law enforcement agencies nationwide. Named in memory of Polly Klaas, a northern California girl abducted and killed in 1993, Foundation staff and volunteers work ceaselessly to help children and families in trouble — and to ensure the safety of future generations of youngsters. At the Foundation's headquarters in Petaluma, California, a powerful FileMaker Pro database system maintains essential case files.

Overview

  • Non–profit organization acts as a liaison between the families of missing children and law enforcement agencies, and works for legislation and public policy in the interests of missing children and their families.
  • Based in Petaluma, CA
  • 8 employees

Industry

  • Non-Profit

Solutions

  • FileMaker Pro database stores and organizes case–history information on missing children, including full descriptions, photos, incoming leads, and other vital data.

I really like FileMaker Pro's search features, which really help us with our follow–up work. We can type in whatever missing–children follow–ups are scheduled for this date, or three months down the road, and the list comes up right away.

— Cindy Rudometkin, Response Department Manager, Polly Klaas Foundation

Business Challenge

When Cindy Rudometkin joined the Polly Klaas Foundation as its Response Department Manager, she could see an immediate need for more efficient data management. "The original database was in Microsoft Access, and we found ourselves really limited on what we could do with written reports and generating statistics. We couldn't do any case management on it," she recalls. "So we switched everything over to Microsoft Excel, and kept everything on an Excel spreadsheet, which obviously has no relational capabilities. It kept track of the basic information, but we really wanted to take it a step further and do all of our case management on the database."

The search for a more effective solution soon led to the conclusion that no off–the–shelf product would do. The Foundation's needs required a custom solution — and when the decision was made to build that solution in FileMaker Pro, the search for a developer led to Teddie Pierce of Technology Consulting Alliance, who turned out to be an ideal fit for the job. "Teddie called me back and told me she used to volunteer for the organization when it was first started," Cindy relates. "So she knew all of our history, she knew about casework — it was amazing!"

Successful Solution

Teddie put her experience to work in designing a straightforward, scalable solution that would keep up with the Foundation's ever–expanding data–management demands, while retaining an easy–to–use interface for non–techie Foundation staffers. Over 6000 records were imported into the new framework, with a basic file for case information — names, locations, descriptions — and another file for law enforcement contacts and leads. Both files are fully relational, greatly streamlining the exchange of data and simplifying the creation of case reports.

The system also takes advantage of FileMaker Pro's image–storage capabilities, readily accommodating photographs of missing kids. Flyers may be composed within the database, using a standard template, and the finished posters are easily printed out directly from FileMaker Pro.

Customer Benefits

With easier access to data, Foundation caseworkers are able to do their work far more efficiently than when they had to struggle with makeshift solutions. "We can do our casework in much less time," notes Cindy. "We have everything right in front of us, we don't have to flip through files, and it's so much better for the families. We're able to get statistical information and reports in ways we never dreamed we'd be able to do."

The Foundation's Petaluma office has only 8 fulltime staffers and only two and a half regular caseworkers. These efficiencies really make a difference where it counts, ensuring that case information is always up to date, and always ready to be shared when law enforcement officials call. "I really like FileMaker Pro's search features, which really help us with our follow–up work," Cindy adds. "We can type in whatever missing–children follow–ups are scheduled for this date, or three months down the road, and the list comes up right away."

We can do our casework in much less time. We have everything right in front of us, we don't have to flip through files, and it's so much better for the families. We're able to get statistical information and reports in ways we never dreamed we'd be able to do.

— Cindy Rudometkin, Response Department Manager, Polly Klaas Foundation

Cindy's enthusiasm for FileMaker Pro has led her to explore learning development for herself, and with a training course under her belt, she's already looking for ways to put that new skill to work. "I've created a whole new database for our information and referral calls, which is everything other than child reports," she says. "It could deal with sex offender information, custody information, or child abuse information. We were able to import over 700 referrals that we give out often to families who call or people in need who call. We have those all imported into this database so we can do a lookup and give out data for whatever type of agency they need."

With only a year of FileMaker Pro use to look back on, Cindy is already looking ahead to future improvements, future enhancements, and future expansion of the system. "We'll definitely upgrade to future versions of FileMaker Pro as they become available," she enthuses. "It's got everything we need right now, but I can't wait for it to get better!"

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Polly Klaas Foundation:

Cindy Rudometkin
Response Department Manager
Polly Klaas Foundation
707-769-1334
cindy@pollyklaas.org
http://www.pollyklaas.org

For Technology Consulting Alliance:

Teddie Pierce
Developer
Technology Consulting Alliance
707-544-1559 x3
support@tcalliance.com
http://www.tcalliance.com