Improving Data Quality
Organizations must strive to improve the quality of data collected to ensure accurate analyses and reports of services provided to—as well as outcomes for—children, youth, and families. The following resources discuss strategies for improving the collection and use of high-quality data, including State and local examples.
Accountability, Evidence, and the Use of Information Systems in Social Service Programs
Journal of Social Work, 82(2), 2008
Determines that improving workers' skills and comfort levels with data systems and maintaining an open dialogue about how the data will be used may be key components to improving the use of data systems.
Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS): State Guide to an AFCARS Assessment Review
Children's Bureau (4th ed.) (2009)
Helps State child welfare program and system staff learn more about the AFCARS Assessment Review process, including information on AFCARS requirements, data element standards, and data collection processes. States may also use the guide as a self-assessment tool.
The Art and Science of Managing and Summarizing the Available Research
In Finding and Evaluating Evidence: Systematic Reviews and Evidence-Based Practice
Bronson & Davis (2012)
Provides tips and strategies for managing the data for a systematic review and strategies for extracting the information from the studies.
Quality Data: Not Just for QA Managers Anymore (PDF - 471 KB)
National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology (2012)
Explores how the quality of data affects agency business, why agencies must invest time and effort to assure that their data quality remains high, and steps for agencies to consider in order to fully use and improve their data.
Recommendations for Improving Child Abuse and Neglect Data and Services for American Indian and Alaska Native Children (PDF - 266 KB)
National Indian Child Welfare Association (2008)
Presents policy and research recommendations for developing a mechanism to enable Tribes to participate in a nationwide child abuse and neglect reporting system.
Using Administrative Records to Evaluate the Accuracy of Child Abuse Reports in a National Survey of Child Abuse and Neglect (PDF - 61 KB)
Smith, Biemer, Dowd, & Chiflikyan (2007)
Examines caseworker-provided data about recurring reports (re-reports) of child abuse and neglect, and discusses potential factors involved in data collection that may cause incomplete data.
Using Data in Multi-Agency Collaborations: Guiding Performance to Ensure Accountability and Improve Programs (PDF - 201 KB)
Public/Private Ventures & Child Trends (2012)
Provides a step-by-step guide to launching a multi-agency data system and making the system work by ensuring partners collect accurate and complete information, analyzing and acting on data to strengthen programming, and sustaining the data collection system over time.
The Well-Being of America's Children: Developing and Improving the Child and Youth Well-Being Index
Discusses the creation of the Foundation for Child Development (FCD) Index of Child and Youth Well-Being (CWI), explores its origins, context, and objectives, and describes methodological issues involved in the construction of composite quality-of-life indices. This text also addresses Federal and State policies impacting children, strategies for improving the connection between the index of child and youth well-being and public policy, and recommendations for promoting child well-being in Federal policy.
White Paper: The Value of Real-Time Data in Human Service Delivery (PDF - 504 KB)
Explores the impact of manual data collection and disjointed systems on the delivery of human services and discusses how integrated voice and data mobile computers can improve caseworker productivity, agency efficiency, and cross-agency collaboration by providing the data needed for faster decision-making and more customized services.
State and local examples
Developing and Implementing Outcomes Training in the Field of Family Support: A Case Example
Reed-Ashcraft, Smithdeal, Kittle, Sharma, & McClune
Professional Development: The International Journal of Continuing Social Work Education, 7(1), 2004
Describes a program in North Carolina with a goal of improving family support providers' use of a standardized outcomes assessment tool in the field.