Expediting the placement of children in safe, permanent families across state lines and reducing administrative paperwork and costs.
What is the NEICE?
The National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) is a national electronic system for quickly and securely exchanging 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), in conjunction with the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (AAICPC), has developed and implemented the NEICE.
The NEICE was launched in November 2013 with pilot funding from Office of Management and Budget, through the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation. Recognizing the success of the pilot and the potential for a nationwide, electronic data exchange, in June 2015, the Children’s Bureau awarded a cooperative agreement (grant number 90XA0151) to APHSA and AAICPC to rollout NEICE to every state and jurisdiction. At this time, the NEICE project is expanding nationwide, with the goal of serving all states. Plans are in place to sustain the system beyond the grant and our aspirational goal is to have all states onboard. Find the states that are part of the NEICE project and those that plan to join on national implementation progress map here .
What are the 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 and the ongoing evaluation of the system by Child Trends indicates that in the past three years, this technology has demonstrated substantial benefits to states and the children in their care. Read the NEICE Pilot Evaluation Results.
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 allows child welfare workers to communicate and provide timely updates to courts, relevant private service providers, and families awaiting placement.
The NEICE system does not have the vulnerability of an e-mail transmission or a paper copy. The NEICE team has focused extensive efforts on meeting all federal and state security measures. The NEICE owner, APHSA/AAICPC, has all required security safeguards in place, which includes liability and cyber insurance and regular audits for system security. NEICE is 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 National Institutes of Standards and Technology best practices for security, including having a security plan in place to monitor security, including system monitoring responsibilities, risk management activities, security incident response, and other issues.
Other benefits of the system to the state include: reduced loss of case documentation thru postal mail; improved quality of the ICPC process by allowing states to monitor their ICPC cases, streamlining the process across states, reducing errors, and allowing 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; and 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.).
How can your state join NEICE?
To join NEICE, your state will need to do the following:
- The State ICPC staff and leadership, together with IT support, will choose which NEICE method works for your state: NEICE Clearinghouse or Case Management System.
- Sign a MOU between your state and APHSA, acting on behalf of the AAICPC. Upon signature of the MOU, your state will be invoiced for the annual fee.
- Your IT team will implement the method your state selected. (About 3 months)
- If you are using the CMS, you will need to decide who will have access to NEICE and how to train staff on NEICE, and roll it out in your state. (This can be concurrent with the technical implementation).
- Test NEICE in practice CMS environment (if that’s the method your state chose).
After these steps, you can begin using NEICE in the live environment.
Who is involved at the national level?
Annual service fee:
There is a $25,000 annual service fee assessed to the state that covers maintenance, administrative and support desk costs for NEICE. This fee was set by the AAICPC Executive Committee and is the same for all states during the grant period. After the grant period, the fee will be reassessed and may be graduated based on state size or usage. This annual fee goes directly into keeping the system up and running and may be offset by title IVE reimbursement and processing costs saving.
- The NEICE licensing fee costs are allowable as a title IV-E foster care in-placement administrative cost under 45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2). The state should check with its assigned federal state system analysts about this.
- The pilot evaluation found significant savings in mailings and copies. That evaluation determined that states spend at least $25, and up to $75 per case. Calculating 500 cases at $25/case saves a state $12,500 in shipping and handling, not including the staff time saved by using the electronic system.
The cooperative agreement grant awarded to APHSA/AAICPC by the Children’s Bureau is to develop and implement the NEICE system, and to defray the technology-related costs associated with onboarding states to the NEICE. During this grant period, each state that joins receives in-kind technical assistance from the NEICE technical vendor, Tetrus Corporation. This includes support while connecting to NEICE, comprehensive staff training, and timely Help Desk support. The CB has provided the following info about claiming IT development costs:
- Title IV-E agencies that implement a direct bi-directional data exchange between the agency’s CCWIS and the NEICE Clearinghouse: In this scenario, interstate placement data is collected through the same automated functions in the CCWIS that support case management and placement activities for children placed in the state. The unduplicated CCWIS automated functions may be eligible for the CCWIS cost allocation methodology. Furthermore, the costs to build and support the CCWIS side of the required data exchange between the CCWIS and the NEICE Clearinghouse system may also be eligible for the CCWIS cost allocation methodology.
- Title IV-E agencies that exchange data captured in the CCWIS with the external NEICE Web-based Case Management System through a required CCWIS bi-directional data exchange: Federal regulations allow IV-E agencies to use external systems to support their business practice model. In this scenario, the costs for the external system are not eligible for CCWIS cost allocation, but the cost of the required data exchange between the two systems may be eligible. Additionally, any duplicated case management or placement functions in the CCWIS are not eligible for CCWIS cost allocation. Furthermore, the costs of exchanging data between the external NEICE Web-based Case Management System and the NEICE Clearinghouse, and the cost of the NEICE licensing fee are also not eligible for the CCWIS cost allocation, but they are allowable as a title IV-E foster care in-placement administrative cost under 45 CFR 1356.60(c)(2) because they provide a mechanism to facilitate the interstate placement of children. However, these costs must be allocated to all benefiting programs per an approved cost allocation plan.
Options for Connecting to NEICE - Technical Information
- Option 1- Case Management System in which users login to a web-based CMS and create and send cases within the CMS.*
- Option 2 - NEICE Clearinghouse – Clearinghouse, which allows the state to connect its child welfare information system DIRECTLY to NEICE. NEICE operates as an information highway.
- Webinar describing technical details for connecting to the NEICE Clearinghouse (March 16, 2016). Click here for a video on the Clearinghouse Presentation
- Technical Specifications - please contact Marci Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Option 1 - Case Management System/Modular Case Management System
The NEICE Case Management System (CMS) 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. Although the current configuration is working very well for the states, there are a number of factors that served as a catalyst for building the Modular Case Management System (MCMS). The primary benefit is that MCMS moves the application from the central Azure Government Cloud to a hosted/cloud environment under that state’s jurisdiction and within the state’s infrastructure. This 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 tightly integrate the functionality into its CCWIS application. 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.
Option 2 – Clearinghouse
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 own 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.
How to join this national initiative?
- First step. Contact Marci Roth project director e-mail at email@example.com to indicate interest. She and other members of the NEICE team will walk you through the process from initial information gathering and decision making to onboarding and going live in the system.
- Then, gather the decision-making information. From the initial contact, the process will be tailored to meet your state’s needs. As states move through the decision-making process, conference calls are conducted as requested to meet state administrative, technical and end-user needs. These calls provide both program and IT staff an understanding of the functionality and technical options.
Depending on the purpose of the call, program and IT decision-makers, as well as, potential system users are included. The state provides the NEICE team with the contact information of the people to be included on the calls and in the planning process. Program and IT staff can participate together or on separate calls.
Frequently after the initial overview, the state participants may ask for a repeat of the call to include additional staff or move on asking for a more in-depth discussion. Call examples are: Initial Discussion and Brief Demo, Full Demo, MOU Discussion, Initial Technical Discussion and Follow Up Technical Discussion.
After deciding to join, concurrent action begins in three areas:
- The Memorandum of Understanding (scroll down to find the MOU and Appendices here). There is template that outlines the obligations of the NEICE and the state. The MOU is between the state and APHSA/AAICPC, for the NEICE. The MOU is reviewed by the relevant state staff which may include contracting and legal staff as well as program and IT personnel. The MOU may be tailored to the state governance. To date APHSA/AAICPC has made some adjustments to the MOU, as required by the unique state governance. Depending on their contracting rules, some states also require a state Business Associates Agreement to be signed.
- The technical build. State and NEICE technical staff at Tetrus work together to address technical questions and tailor connection options to the state’s IT system. The state will share ICPC-related system details (if used by State). Together the state IT and Tetrus schedule IT changes, develop, and test the state’s linkage with the NEICE in a test environment, and determine when the state will go live in the system.
- User training. The state provides the names of all end users. Tetrus creates a planned approach, schedules and conducts training sessions as needed by the designated staff. End users are given access to a test environment and practice exchanging mock cases. Training in the NEICE test system ensures all the end users are proficient and comfortable with case exchange before the state goes live and actual cases are exchanged with other jurisdictions. In addition, there are online training modules that staff and access and work through at their own pace.
Go Live Planning. As we move along these three paths concurrently, there are monthly all-state calls set up among the three areas so each knows the pace at which the other is moving forward. This allows a target month and date to be selected when all three areas are ready and the NEICE can go into live production—using the system to exchange actual cases with other states. Going live requires: technical readiness, user comfort using the system and a fully executed MOU.
Maintenance and sustainability. After the MOU is fully executed, the state is invoiced for the $25,000 annual licensing fee, which helps cover the program’s maintenance, training, support desk and administrative costs. The annual fee is paid to APHSA/AAICPC, and goes right back into keeping the system up and running.
MOU and Appendices (updated 7/26/2017)
In order to join NEICE, every state must sign our MOU. Please download the latest versions here:
Additional information and resources
Additional Information and Resources
The National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) project is operated by the American Public Health Services Association (APHSA) with the Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (AAICPC) and is made possible by grant number 90XA0151 from the Children’s Bureau. The contents of this summary are solely the responsibility of APHSA, AAICPC and the participating states, and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Children’s Bureau, ACYF, ACF, or HHS. July 2015.