Standards around access to data and data sharing rules govern the ebb and flow of a rapidly changing public child welfare information management industry. It is important that stakeholders are part of the information management process; securing buy- in from end-users of data is critical throughout this iterative process.
Although confidentiality has to be safeguarded, the presumption is that information management is based on the principle of access, between internal agency programs and across systems. To support full access to necessary information, agency leaders must understand and address the limitations and self imposed parameters regarding confidentiality.
Access has several benefits, not the least of which is that access to and use of information improves the quality of information. This process should include access to information in a form that supports end-users given their role in the organization. Role- driven access incorporates data security issues as well as analytical issues – that is, what knowledge does a person need in order to contribute to the agency’s overarching mission? These roles include:
Agency leadership staff members charged with management of agency resources need access to aggregate information. This information describes the flow of families through the system, case outcomes across regions/programs, variations in case types, activities, or outcomes, and trends in case entry and exit, length of service and characteristics of the children, youth and families served. (e.g., disproportionate populations represented).
Frontline supervisors need access to aggregate information on worker caseloads and activities, as well as case outcomes. They also need access to case-specific information to supervise, coach and mentor frontline workers.
Frontline workers are the primary point of contact for the children, youth, and families being served. They require timely access to information contained in their case files to make effective decisions/referrals for services and to monitor progress towards goals.
Private providers need access to case history information and information on outcomes for which they may be held accountable.
Data should be accessed and shared to communication, educate, train and continuously improve practice.