Benetech Empowers Social Services Agencies to Better Serve Constituents Through Shared Data Platforms

By Benetech, posted on

Partnership with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida to serve as model for a nationwide federation of social services resource directories

Benetech, the leading software for social good nonprofit, today announced a partnership with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida to pilot an interactive data platform that enables Florida’s civil legal aid providers to share accurate, up-to-date data about their services. The partnership will result in greater access to legal aid directory information for residents of Florida, and a replicable model that can be deployed in other states and service sectors. Those in need of services will experience greater and more comprehensive access to the resources they need to succeed.

“There are millions of people in the United States who struggle to access the services that can help them most,” said Anh Bui, vice president, Benetech. “Data about those services is locked in fragmented and redundant silos across thousands of human services organizations and referral providers. These costly and ineffective data silos make it difficult for service providers to connect clients with the services they need. Benetech’s new data platform approach is designed to break down these data silos.”

Today’s announcement is part of Benetech’s work with the Open Referral initiative, which is developing data standards and interoperable platforms that make it easier to share, find, and use information about community resources—such as food, shelter, healthcare, job training, childcare, family support services, and legal aid. Open Referral’s founder, Greg Bloom, is a Benetech Labs Strategic Advisor.

With funding from the Legal Services Corporation, and in collaboration with Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, LegalServer, the Open Referral initiative, and a core group of five legal aid organizations, Benetech will design and test an interactive data platform that can be queried and maintained by legal services providers. The collaboration will serve as a model that can be adapted to other social services fields across the country by bringing together core stakeholders and leveraging open source tools and data standards that encourage long-term sustainability and growth.

“It is critical to our mission that we know exactly what resources are available to our clients at any given time across the 12 counties we operate,” said Kimberly Sanchez, executive director of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida. “Our work with Benetech will help ensure we always have up-to-date information at our fingertips, increasing our ability to deliver services more efficiently. This data will help us provide better service to more people, and it will also help us make more informed decisions about where to dedicate resources.”