Parent-Child Cases Extension in Dovetail Carrier

One of the available extensions within Dovetail Carrier is the Parent-Child Cases Extension, which allows for automating workflow processes involving parent and child cases.


Quick Refresher on Parent and Child Cases

With parent and child cases, we can relate a group of similar problems with a root cause. The parent case identifies the root cause. A child case is a customer problem that arises due to the root cause and is linked to the parent case.

For example, suppose someone knocks out a utility pole, which causes an internet outage for many customers.

Each customer may call into the call center and report the outage. We can relate all of these cases to a parent case, which is where the repair is being tracked. Updates on the repair are tracked within the parent case. Only one case needs to be updated, thus removing duplicate work.

Parent-Child Cases Extension

This extension allows for automating part of the workflow process here – specifically, it will automatically close all the child cases of a parent case.

A common use case for this is to have a business rule that fires when a parent case is closed. This rule will tell Dovetail Rulemanager to send a message to Carrier, and Carrier will close all of the child cases. An internal note will be logged to the parent case with details.

Example Message

Here’s what the message looks like that we want to send to Carrier:

Summary=Automatically closed via Dovetail Carrier extension


Integration with Rulemanager

Dovetail Rulemanager supports a business rule action type of Carrier Message, which will send a message to Dovetail Carrier. This allows a business rule to be crafted that will close the child cases.

Example Business Rule

Object Type Case
Rule Name/Description When the parent case is closed, close all the children
Start Events Close Task
Cancel Event None
Conditions Number Of Child Cases > 0
Action Title Auto-Close the Children
Create Activity Log Entry? true (checked)
Who to Notify no one (leave empty)
Start Action 0 minutes
From Event Creation
Using Elapsed Time
Repeat Never
Message Type Carrier Message


caseID=[Object ID]



Summary=Automatically closed via business rule


Note: The Number Of Child Cases rule property (used in the business rule condition) is a custom Function-based Rule Property, freely available at

Note logged to the Parent Case

When this message is handled, an internal note will automatically be logged to the parent case with details of what happened, including which cases were closed, which are already closed, and which could not be closed (along with the reason why it could not be closed).

Example of note that is logged

Closed Parent Case


Flip the Script – When the last child case is closed, close the parent case

What if you wanted to go the other way – so that when the last child case is closed, it should automatically close the parent case?

This is easy to do as well. Create a new business rule. When the child case is closed, and the NumberOfOpenChildCasesOnParent is equal to zero, send Carrier a message to close the parent case using the SDK Toolkit Extension.

This business rule is one of the examples provided in the Free Collection of Business Rule Recipes. You can access the Business Rule Recipes here


If you use Parent and Child Cases, this new Carrier extension should help with your workflow automation. 

And don’t forget – if the available Carrier extensions don’t fit your exact needs – you can build your own extensions, allowing you to craft processes that address your specific business needs. Check out the Dovetail Carrier Customizations site for more details. 


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