Efforts to share data among organizations serving children, youth, and families must take several issues into consideration, including confidentiality, policies and procedures, the establishment of common data elements, the integration of different information systems, and more. The following resources discuss ways to improve data sharing among organizations, including State and local examples.
Analyzing State Differences in Child Well-Being (PDF - 1987 KB)
O'Hare, Mather, & Dupuis (2012)
Examines the results of a comprehensive composite of State-level child well-being data modeled after the Foundation for Child Development's Child Well-Being Index.
Building a Data Sharing Network of Scholarship Programs for Alumni of Foster Care: Pilot Phase Process and Findings (PDF - 1364 KB)
Schultz & Mueller (2008)
Describes the process of launching a data sharing initiative among scholarship programs and presents preliminary findings based on data collected in the pilot phase.
Court/Child Welfare National Exchange Template (NET) Task Force
National Center for State Courts
Offers information on a collaborative effort involving Federal, State, and local organizations to develop a set of technical specifications to assist jurisdictions in the electronic sharing of information between child welfare agencies and courts.
National Resource Center for Child Welfare Data and Technology
Provides information on meeting the technical challenges presented by sharing data within and child welfare agencies and across State agencies serving children, youth, and families.
Guidelines for Juvenile Information Sharing (PDF - 409 KB)
Mankey, Baca, Rondenell, Webb, & McHugh (2006)
Suggests a course of action for stakeholders involved in a State or local effort to implement and sustain information sharing that focuses on three critical components: collaboration, confidentiality, and technology.
Introduction to Cross-System Data Sources in Child Welfare, Alcohol and Other Drug Services, and Courts (PDF - 1162 KB)
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2011)
Describes the primary data-reporting systems used by each service system. The goal of the report is to help management and administrative personnel develop or improve cross-system relationships.
Navigating Information Sharing: You Can Share Information to Help Youth Involved in Multiple Systems
National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention
Provides a toolkit that helps young people and their families by supporting school and community providers to more effectively develop and navigate information sharing systems, policies, and procedures.
State Progress in Sharing Data Between Courts and Child Welfare Agencies (PDF - 15,821 KB)
CW360°: A Comprehensive Look at a Prevalent Child Welfare Issue, 2011
Highlights the effectiveness of electronic data exchange that provides both courts and child welfare agencies with timely, complete, and accurate information upon which to make decisions promoting child safety, permanency, and well-being. Implementation issues for States and the development of data exchange standards are discussed.
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, 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.
State and local examples
Building Bridges: The Case for Sharing Data Between the Court and Child Welfare Systems: White Paper (PDF - 602 KB)
Drezelo & Lepore (2008)
Provides examples of data sharing efforts between courts and child welfare agencies, including New York State's progress in this area, and describes the opportunities and challenges of data sharing.
Data Milestone for Foster Care: Linking Computers Systems Can Help Target Services
Describes outcomes related to a pilot project that connects California's child welfare database with Cal-PASS, the California Partnership for Achieving Student Success.
Data Mining Project: In and Out-of-County Foster Care Placements and Receipt of Mental Health Services (PDF - 1157 KB)
California Child Welfare Council, Out-of-County Mental Health Services Workgroup, & Data Linkage and Information Sharing Committee (2011)
Examines characteristics of children in foster care who received mental health services and details differences among children placed in and outside of their county of jurisdiction in California.
Data Warehouse "JOIN"s Oregon's Court and Agency Systems (PDF - 163 KB)
Child CourtWorks, 8(5), 2006
Profiles Oregon's Juvenile Oregon Judicial Information Network, an online management system for dependency cases for the Citizen Review Board, judicial performance measurement data, court self-evaluations, and several other functions.
Electronic Information Exchange for Children in Foster Care: A Roadmap to Improved Outcomes
The Children's Partnership (2010)
Describes how information technology and the electronic exchange of information can be used as powerful tools to improve the coordination of care and provision of services for children in the California foster care system.
A Public Health Approach to Child Maltreatment Surveillance: Evidence from a Data Linkage Project in the United States
Putnam-Hornstein, Webster, Needell, & Magruder
Child Abuse Review, 20(4), 2011
Proposes a public-health-oriented approach to the surveillance of child maltreatment through linkages between child protective service records and population-based sources of data.
Sharing Data Across Youth-Serving Agencies: Philadelphia's Policy and Analysis Center (PAC): Promising Practice Profile (PDF - 64 KB)
Finance Project (2010)
Discusses a Philadelphia data sharing initiative among the school district and other human services agencies to increase the availability of useful data to inform decision-making for local youth-serving organizations.
Strengthening Texas Courts for the Safety, Permanency, and Well Being of Children in Foster Care (PDF - 472 KB)
Task Force on Child Protection Case Management and Reporting, Supreme Court of Texas (2006)
Summarizes challenges to unified data collection, sharing, and analysis among judges who hear child protection cases in Texas, discusses progress toward a uniform statewide system for managing and tracking data on child abuse and neglect cases, and suggests best practices for measuring and improving court performance.
Using Local Data to Explore the Experiences and Needs of Children of Incarcerated Parents
Presents lessons learned about merging and analysis of administrative data from the criminal justice and human services systems on children of incarcerated parents, including a discussion of data sets and how they were linked and a review of the analyses conducted. (PDF - 196 KB)