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  • Writer's pictureCommunity CareLink

Empowering Communities through Data-Driven Solutions

Updated: Apr 12

STRiVIN’ STRiVIN is a program that reduces violence in vulnerable neighborhoods — spanning Kansas City, Missouri area communities like Raytown, North Kansas City, South Kansas City, Independence and Midtown. The STRiVIN initiative is part of COMBAT, a program that secures essential funding for law enforcement and supports innovative prevention and treatment programs, improving cooperation among anti-crime tax-funded agencies. Using crime statistics from 11 police departments, STRiVIN pinpoints neighborhoods that have high crime rates but limited services available.


Situation Imagine this scenario: An officer receives a domestic violence call and arrives to find children without basic necessities like food and clothing. There are no injuries reported and no arrests made, but if caregivers are not referred to resources that address social determinants of health (SDOH) – such as a food pantry, clothing closet or women’s shelter – it’s likely that there will be future calls to the home and the situation could escalate.

To address this risk, an officer may reach out to a social worker, but only after responding to 10 or more calls and dealing with piles of paperwork related to each call. After a long, exhausting day, officers struggle to remember crucial information that could help them connect people to the right resources.


“I started as a police officer in 1976, and I retired in 2006,” said Vince Ortega, COMBAT director. “On crisis 9-1-1 calls, we came up with solutions and moved on to the next 911 call. Nothing was sustainable because we didn’t have a way to track the people we came in contact with. It was always a temporary fix.”

STRiVIN, a program that reduces violence and drug abuse in vulnerable high-crime neighborhoods —spanning Jackson County to Kansas City, Missouri area communities like Raytown, Northeast Kansas City, South Kansas City, Independence and Mitown, recognized the importance of tracking data and connecting resource channels to ensure that people in the community get the help they need. That’s why they sought a system that allows officers to quickly refer people who had assorted social service needs to help during emergency responses.

By coordinating with local entities, including police officers, school administrators, social workers, mental health professionals, faith-based leaders and community members, the program provides solutions that address the root cause of violence and trauma by focusing on the social determinants of health (SDOH), the economic and social conditions that influence health status.

“It’s all about de-escalating. By being proactive and creating this system, we’re helping each individual and each family – creating a chain reaction that helps an entire neighborhood and community,” said Joseph Loudon, Communications Administrator.

But there was still a disconnect between what STRiVIN aimed to do and the tools they needed to accomplish it.


Solution In 2021, STRiVIN partnered with Community CareLink (CCL), a case management electronic health record platform for community programs, to provide necessary resources to those in need. CCL serves as STRVIN’s intake form and referral tracking system to allow officers to immediately connect individuals and families with social workers.

With CCL, there’s no need to wait for a lull in calls to follow-up with social services. If an officer finds a family struggling to provide enough food for their children during a 9-1-1 response, they can make a STRiVIN referral right away. Online referrals can be made in minutes through a smartphone or computer and are then routed to a STRiVIN social service hub for processing. From there, an in-depth needs assessment is performed to connect the person to a proper resource.

“In some cases, this can be life-changing help or even life-saving help. It’s a very tangible, very real thing that we’re trying to do,” said Joseph Loudon, Communications Administrator “This gets everyone to work together and think about solutions from a holistic perspective.”

The portal is accessible to the public, ensuring transparency and accountability with COMBAT funding and revealing results that inspire public advocacy for the program. By sharing valuable information on a single platform, all members have a voice and can speak up for their needs.


"We now have a real data-driven program, so we don’t have to guess anymore. We can direct funding and direct resources based on the issues and root causes of violence and drug abuse." -Vince Ortega, COMBAT Director


Results

Before utilizing CCL, STRiVIN solely tracked crime statistics. Although they were able to demonstrate up to a 30% decrease in crime annually, they were unable to identify the root cause of violent behavior and drug abuse. By leveraging the CCL database, they can now gain insights into factors that impact SDOH, such as trauma, inadequate access to transportation for food or medical care and limited social services. This data, funneled through the STRIVIN Hub program, empowers COMBAT to make stronger recommendations for funding backed by evidence-based proof.

Additionally, CCL data revealed that different service agencies were providing support to individuals in an uncoordinated manner, leading to confusion and inefficiency. Shockingly, their data collection process highlighted that 70% of victims of shootings and other crimes believed to be receiving services had not been contacted at all. CCL’s database is critical to enhancing service delivery and supporting victims who have previously been left behind.

“We now have a real data-driven program, so we don’t have to guess anymore. We can direct funding and direct resources based on the issues and root causes of violence and drug abuse,” Ortega said.

With late-night emergency calls being frequent, the ability to use mobile devices for referrals is a game-changer for officers and agencies. This is where CCL comes in. They can quickly access social service information, eliminating the hassle of notes and phone calls. Once sent off, their work is done. By analyzing the data, STRiVIN can serve communities better, identifying areas that need more attention.


In some cases, this can be life-changing help or even life-saving help. It’s a very tangible, very real thing that we’re trying to do, this gets everyone to work together and think about solutions from a holistic perspective.

-Joseph Loudon, COMBAT, Communications Administrator

The expanded referral program is now open to school administrators, healthcare professionals and other advocates. With nearly 1,000 referrals made through May 2023, the STRiVIN Referrals program is in every STRiVIN neighborhood.

“Until you see it in action, until you see the outcomes, until you see the data where it really tells the story of what we’re doing, then you finally get the whole picture,” Ortega said.

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