April 18, 2024

A Child’s Journey Through Data. How a Digital Case Management System Helps Prison Fellowship International Support 1,589 Children

Gabriela Alvarado

A Child’s Journey Through Data. How a Digital Case Management System Helps Prison Fellowship International Support 1,589 Children

Data can change a child’s life. We’ve learned this from working with our client, Prison Fellowship International (PFI), a non-profit organization that is doing a remarkable job in creating opportunities for children of prisoners through, The Child’s Journey. Through their work to serve an often forgotten group of at-risk youth to the tune of 19 million worldwide is truly an effort to care for the least, of these. In the current program design, children are monitored by an assigned caseworker – an angel without wings –  to ensure they receive the safety, health, spiritual, and educational interventions they need to live a prosperous life and avoid repeating the cycle of crime in their family. With more than 4,000 children enrolled in the program, PFI had been collecting a lot of vital data, but their manual case management system made things difficult, often leading to inefficiencies and delays in service delivery. Moreover, it affected the field team’s performance and confidence, a detriment to their relationship with the children.

In 2022, PFI approached TaroWorks with a challenge to digitize their case management system to simplify processes and boost impact in order to evaluate whether the program could scale to reach hundreds of thousands of children every year. Together, we designed a pilot program for their teams in Malawi, Togo and Colombia, with the objective of providing  a system to seamlessly collect and analyze data, manage field teams and communicate impact with stakeholders and donors that were giving towards the work with children.

In this article, we’ll delve into the story of this pilot program in which we helped PFI create a Digital Case Management System comprising the TaroWorks offline mobile technology and the power of Salesforce CRM. This post also includes an interview with Hannah Wolff, PFI’s Digital Solutions Manager, and members of The Child’s Journey team at Prison Fellowship Malawi: Chimwemwe Joy Magawa and Gerald Nkhoma, to illustrate the impact that TaroWorks has had on the program, caseworkers and children of prisoners around the world.

Navigating the Challenges Of a Manual Case Management System: Shifting From Pen and Paper To Digital Tools

PFI’s field team’s focus lies in supporting the children of prisoners, something done through monitoring and managing each child’s unique case. The process starts in prison, where the program is introduced to incarcerated parents  who share vital information about their children, including their whereabouts and specific needs. Subsequently, caseworkers meticulously collect, organize and analyze this data to ensure comprehensive coverage and effective planning. Each caseworker can be assigned with up to 75 children, and they were tasked with manually collecting data from each child for registration and monthly monitoring.

“Before TaroWorks, we used pen and paper to collect and store the children’s data. This was challenging,” recalls Chimwemwe. Information from monitoring forms is vital but managing hundreds of files can be overwhelming and make it harder to retrieve important data. Some of the challenges they faced were: time-consuming processes, record inaccuracies, transporting physical files to and from the field, and document storage that posed space, resources and security risks. 

“Many children live in remote, difficult-to-reach areas. Imagine you are a caseworker carrying physical folders or even a briefcase full of paper while walking or driving on bumpy gravel roads to reach the child you are evaluating. Not only is it burdensome physically, but there are also many opportunities for missing documents or out-of-date information,” mentioned Hannah Wolf, Digital Solutions Manager at PFI.

Streamlining Data

The TaroWorks Mobile Data Collection Forms was included in PFI’s toolkit, allowing the team to collect and access data from a mobile device, even without an internet connection. Caseworkers now take just a tablet or phone to the field instead of carrying Bible-size files across bumpy roads. And, processes like registration have been considerably reduced to give back valuable time to caseworkers.

“Before TaroWorks, it took us about two days to enter data manually into spreadsheets. We had to duplicate everything from paper to digital, which was time-consuming and prone to errors. With TaroWorks, we save a lot of time because the information flows seamlessly from the tablets to our database.” – Chimwemwe, PFI

Bridging The Gap Between The Field and The Office

Non-profits in last-mile locations often face challenges due to lack of connectivity. This makes it harder to communicate between field and headquarter staff , leading to delays in stakeholder reporting, decision-making and timely interventions. 

Coordinating resources becomes difficult without real-time data exchange. For example, when caseworkers needed to obtain items or plan an intervention for a child, such as a school uniform or delivering specific healthcare, they had to navigate through the labyrinth of paperwork. “I needed to check 600-700 files, and it was not easy. Sometimes, you could lose necessary information, sometimes it could delay the process, and sometimes it was even difficult to find a child’s file,” mentions Chimwemwe.

Thanks to the power of Salesforce, data through the new pilot system could be quickly processed into reports and dashboards with information tailored to what each caseworker needed to know.

Streamlining Sponsorship Processes 

Sending a thank you letter to a donor was a complicated process. Caseworkers had to take a paper letter to the child from their sponsor, write a response in the local dialect, translate it into the sponsor’s language, scan it, and then it would be manually paired with the correct sponsor and mailed or emailed to the sponsor. Now, caseworkers can simply share a digital version of the sponsors message, capture the child’s response in a text field, attach a photo of the child’s drawing or letter, andattach it to a digital note that is automatically paired with the correct sponsor, ready for translation and send. “DCM gives us the ability to ‘show’ donors their impact in a new way,” said Hannah.

The Benefits of a Digital Case Management System

Caseworkers and social workers are essential for the success of The Child’s Journey program. They work hard and navigate different challenges to change children’s lives and give them the right tools to thrive. The digital case management system was developed specifically with the field staff in mind to equip them with technology and tracking abilities that improved the services they provided to children in the program. 

Through our conversations with Gerald and Chimwemwe, we were able to dive into the benefits they’ve experienced since the implementation of the digital case management system integrated by TaroWorks and Salesforce CRM. Their insights are invaluable to us and in the following paragraphs, we share the key benefits caseworkers have been experiencing.

Benefits of TaroWorks For Field Teams


TaroWorks is an offline mobile extension of Salesforce CRM, and together, they give caseworkers the ability to track program delivery to each child easily. Caseworkers can quickly review their dashboard to see which children have gone the longest without each intervention to know who they need to prioritize. This information allows them to plan program activities from weeks to months in advance, increasing the overall number of services delivered to children. 

“Planning becomes much easier with Salesforce & TaroWorks. We really know the children’s needs, as now the needs assessment report is generated automatically,” highlighted Gerald.


Implementation requires a lot of coordination and tools to overcome challenges. Having offline access to their CRM has given wings to the caseworkers. They can now make assessments quicker and are able to communicate actual activities and needs to the main office, even in remote locations. 

“Implementation is smoother, and reporting is more accurate. Additionally, TaroWorks has simplified our sponsorship operations and annual progress reporting, saving us time and ensuring efficiency,” said Gerald.


The app also ensures accountability and transparency, as every interaction is documented digitally. Being able to access attendance reports and manage jobs and tasks through the app, field workers know exactly what they have to do in one visit, and their managers can prove the job was done by looking at the Salesforce dashboard.

“This has greatly improved our service delivery and overall effectiveness,” said Gerald


Caseworkers feel more confident because they are equipped with the information and tools to do their job.  According to the Malawi team, they’ve also noticed that by sharing weekly performance, it has become a healthy competition between field team-members to see who can do better, who can do the most.  “With TaroWorks, we’re much more confident. We know exactly where our tasks are, whether it’s monitoring visits, school visits, or home connections. Overall, it’s made our jobs much easier and more efficient,” saidGerald.

Maximizing Impact

Currently, 4,310 children with an incarcerated parent are enrolled in The Child’s Journey and 1,589 of these children are benefiting from the digital case management system across Malawi, Togo and Colombia. These children receive a variety of services on a monthly basis, contributing to securing and enhancing their future. Thanks to the digital case management system, caseworkers now have the time to strengthen their relationships with children to truly understand their needs. 

“The relationship between caseworkers and children has become stronger. With TaroWorks, caseworkers can spend more quality time with each child, focusing on their needs rather than paperwork,” said Chimwemwe.

During our conversations with the PFI team, we were inevitablyinspired. Chimwemwe and Gerald are real angels who truly enjoy their work and are committed to the vision of breaking the cycle of crime. Their excitement about TaroWorks, and the way the system has impacted their daily jobs and impact, inspires us to continue helping organizations working in the last-mile to access powerful technology and tools to accomplish more in their mission.

“It’s a wonderful job. We get to instill hope in the hopeless. In prison, the conditions are very pathetic, and the fathers are hopeless. They don’t know how their kids are doing because there was no one to take care of them.  But now they have hope.”

Gerald, PFI


About the author...

Gabriela Alvarado



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