What is the NEICE?
The National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) is a national electronic system for quickly and securely exchanging all the data and documents required by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) to place children across state lines.
The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) developed and implemented the NEICE for use by the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (AAICPC).
The NEICE was launched in November 2013 with funding from the Office of Management and Budget through the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation. Recognizing the success of the pilot and the potential for nationwide, electronic data exchange, in June 2015, the Children's Bureau awarded a cooperative agreement (Grant #: 90XA0151) to APHSA to implement NEICE in every state and jurisdiction. At this time, APHSA has MOU NEICE agreements with 45 states to implement and use the NEICE.
The Family First Act of 2018 requires that all states join the national electronic interstate system for processing ICPC cases by 2027; the NEICE is the only system meeting this description. Learn which states are actively using NEICE and those committed to join as of January 2020.
States can join NEICE either by installing a NEICE Modular Case Management System on a server they host (MCMS) or by building ICPC functionality into their SACWIS/CCWIS systems and connecting directly to NEICE (the Clearinghouse Direct method.)
What are the Benefits?
First and foremost, NEICE benefits children! The work required and the time for the states to exchange paperwork is significantly reduced, and as a result, children spend less time waiting for placement. With NEICE, a case can be created by a Sending State caseworker and reach the Receiving State caseworker within a day, sometimes within an hour.
NEICE also benefits states and their staff! NEICE allows child welfare workers to communicate and provide timely updates to courts, relevant private service providers, and families. NEICE reduces paperwork and contributes to faster decision making, reducing the time children and family wait for placements.
Other benefits of the system to the state include:
- Reduced loss of case documentation through postal mail.
- Improved quality of the ICPC process by allowing states to monitor their ICPC cases, streamlined process across states that reduces errors and allows quick access to case status when the case is in process at the receiving state.
- Improved collection and analysis of reliable data to an extent not possible before.
- Saved costs in administrative, mailing and copying costs, and staff.
Additionally, NEICE improves accountability and transparency of all parties involved in the child welfare process (caseworkers, compact administrators, attorneys, judges, Court Appointed Special Advocates [CASA], etc.).
NEICE Evaluation Results
A pilot project was tested in 2013-2015 with six ICPC jurisdictions: District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. An external evaluator, WRMA, conducted a comprehensive evaluation of the project, including assessing overall impact and efficiency. The results of the pilot evaluation by WRMA, and the external evaluation of the system by Child Trends conducted in 2015-2018 both indicated that this technology has demonstrated substantial benefits to states and the children in their care.
How Can Your State Join NEICE?
To become a member of NEICE, your state will need to do the following:
- Sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between your state and APHSA, which manages the NEICE in accordance with the legal and policy requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). Upon the signature of the MOU, your state will be invoiced for the annual fee and the one-time connection fee (See below).
- The State ICPC staff, child welfare leadership, and IT leads will choose which NEICE method works best for your state: the NEICE Clearinghouse Direct connection method or the Modular Case Management System.
- Your IT team will work with the NEICE technical vendor to develop an implementation timeline and begin working to implement the method your state selected.
- If you are using the MCMS, you will need to decide who will have access to NEICE, how to train staff on NEICE, and how to roll it out in your state. (This can be concurrent with the technical implementation).
- Test NEICE in a practice MCMS environment (if that's the method your state chose) or in your state’s SACWIS/CCWIS environment (if you chose the Clearinghouse Direct method).
After these steps, you can begin transmitting case documents and data to other participating NEICE states.
Options for Connecting to NEICE — Technical Information
NEICE operates on a national information highway called the Clearinghouse, and there are two ways states can connect to that highway. If your state is ready to join NEICE, please contact Marci McCoy-Roth at [email protected] to begin!
- Option 1 — NEICE Modular Case Management System (MCMS) in which a state’s IT staff install NEICE MCMS and test environment on local server. Users log in to a web based MCMS and create, send and receive cases within that application. The MCMS comes with connection to the national Clearinghouse highway.
- Option 2 — NEICE Clearinghouse Direct — The NCH Direct method allows the state to connect its child welfare information system DIRECTLY to NEICE Clearinghouse.
Option 1 – NEICE Modular Case Management System
The NEICE Modular Case Management System (MCMS) was developed to enable states that lacked the capability to process ICPC cases in their current SACWIS/ Child Welfare systems the ability to create, process, and track ICPC cases electronically and share case information with other states in a secure manner. The primary benefit of the MCMS is that the application is hosted on a server or cloud environment under a state's jurisdiction and within a state's infrastructure. This hosting change reduces the liability of data residing in the cloud and enables the state to leverage the MCMS to function as part of CCWIS modernization efforts. Each state can utilize the MCMS functionality and may be able to integrate the functionality into its CCWIS application tightly. While doing this, each state needs to ensure that they are meeting the modular requirements identified by the CCWIS guidelines and the CCWIS guidelines for funding. States currently on the NEICE CMS are incrementally migrating to the MCMS, and NEICE is providing the technical support needed to do so. In addition, the MCMS operates more quickly than the CMS version because it does not need to go through firewalls to operate except for operations that must be transmitted between states. There is no need for duplicate data entry if states build an interface between their SACWIS/CCWIS and the MCMS.
Option 2 – Clearinghouse Direct
This option allows the state to connect its child welfare information system DIRECTLY to NEICE, which operates as an information exchange between states. NEICE users create and process ICPC cases through the state's child welfare information system. When the caseworker submits the ICPC placement request, the case and placement request are transported through NEICE as a secure clearinghouse directly to the receiving state. This option requires more front-end work by the state's information technology team to modify its child welfare information system to allow workers to build and send ICPC cases and placement information directly from the system (unless this capacity already exists). This potentially carries higher initial costs, but as users work in their child welfare information system full-time, there is no need to train in a new system, and there is no duplicate entry. This option is consistent with CCWIS requirements.
The NEICE system meets all federal and state privacy and cyber security measures and does not have the vulnerability of e-mail transmission or sending paper copies through the mail. The NEICE management team regularly reviews federal security requirements to ensure the NEICE meets required security safeguards, secures adequate liability and cyber insurance for the system, and conducts regular audits for system security. NEICE is hosted on the Microsoft Azure Government Cloud, which is Fed Ramp compliant and meets HIPAA standards. This is the same cloud used by the Department of Homeland Security. NEICE meets FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) requirements and follows the NIST (National Institutes of Standards and Technology) best practices for security, including having a security plan in place to monitor security, system monitoring responsibilities, risk management activities, security incident response, and other issues.
NEICE Membership Fees
There is a one time technical fee to join NEICE, and an ongoing annual license fee. Please contact Marci McCoy-Roth at [email protected] for more information. Work will not begin until state fees are received by APHSA.