Improving Outcomes through Data Sharing

The partnership, which consists of five foundations interested in child welfare services in California, put this short report out on the value of appropriate data sharing among public and private agencies that interact with families and children known to the child welfare system.

After a brief explanation of the central problem – wariness by stakeholders, including foster youths, that sharing can lead to misinformation, identity theft or public knowledge of children in care – the report moves to examples of successful efforts to responsibly share information. Mentioned as successful models:

California Child Welfare Indicators Project, a venture at University of California-Berkeley that strips identity from all kinds of child welfare data points to create a large basis for research on the system.

Foster Focus, a password-protected system that allows various levels of access for different people in the lives of foster children to keep track of their academics.

The report also describes an intergrated reporting system for social services in Alameda County, Calif., and a concept for a system that would tighten up protocols and process for prescribing and approving psychotropic drugs for foster children.

Click here to read the report.

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John Kelly, Editor in Chief, The Chronicle of Social Change
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John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change. Reach him at