This piece was originally published in the August 2020 issue of Policy & Practice magazine.
Two years ago, Accenture presented a vision for using virtual reality (VR) in child welfare. That vision came to life as the Accenture Virtual Experiences Solution (AVEnueS)—a learning tool that the Accenture team imagined would be invaluable in helping prepare caseworkers for the field.
Two years later, early adopters across the country have shown that AVEnueS is a tool for what we envisioned and much more. The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services and the Indiana Department of Child Services are among the collaborators that have been peeling back the layers of VR’s potential in the important work of child welfare. In the August 2020 issue of Policy & Practice, they share their perspectives on the value of VR to their organizations.
Kevin Jones, CIO of the Indiana Department of Child Services, is using AVEnueS to support performance improvement: "We have a multigenerational workforce," Jones says. "Training that was effective for one generation and their life experiences may not be right for a different generation.
"We are using AVEnueS to help us identify gaps in our training and development programs so we can address them and improve performance."
Jones also sees opportunities in the future to help in recruiting and preparing the attorneys who practice family law on behalf of the Department.
"Nothing in law school prepares you for what can happen inside a courtroom where you're the lawyer making a case to take away someone's child. VR can prepare an attorney for that reality," he says.
When we started, we did not imagine this array of possibilities for AVEnueS. With early adopters working with us side by side – and the global pandemic escalating the need for small-group and virtual training – we are broadening the possibilities for VR technology in child welfare with each passing month.