Using Integrated Data Systems to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes

How two states are working to improve outcomes for children in foster care through the strategic use of integrated data

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

April 25, 2017

Summary

The states of Wisconsin and Washington used integrated data systems to evaluate and understand how child support enforcement policies and receipt of TANF benefits affect the time kids spend in child welfare placements. This information led to state policymakers working toward improved family reunification outcomes by enabling their child-focused systems to collaborate more efficiently.

This case study is one in series of briefs that make a case for how investment in IDS pays off in improved outcomes and better allocation of resources.

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Key Takeaway

An integrated data system establishes a powerful tool

An integrated data system (IDS) periodically links individual-level administrative data from multiple public service agencies and contracted service providers. This creates a rich picture of individual service needs, participation and outcomes over many years. By offering large sample sizes, longitudinal data and the ability to identify multisystem clients, integrated data systems are valuable tools for policy analysis, program planning and monitoring and evaluation.  

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