Providing the Whole Story: Linking Child Welfare and Children’s Behavioral Health Data to Create a Child-Centered Report.
The Issue: Family services strive to be person-centered, but in systems of care, information can be strewn across disparate data systems, and this provides an extraordinary challenge for family-centered care of children and families involved in multiple family service delivery systems. For children and their families receiving social services and behavioral health services, it is often impossible for family serving staff to see the whole picture or grasp the entire story of what has transpired before, during, and even after care. Person-centered care relies on sharing relevant information about the people we are serving – so that we can help the child, not merely serve the case.
What we Did:
- Worked with two family serving county departments to create a data sharing agreement
- Developed a process to transfer the two types of data monthly to family service agencies
- Created an algorithm for matching children’s data from the two different departments
- Provided a user interface for hand matching by agency staff when data was disparate
- Created a data warehouse to merge the datasets
- Created a querying tool to find children’s information quickly
- Created a data visualization tool to provide dashboards of aggregate data by program and staff
- Created a reporting tool to view the whole story for each child and family
The Solution: MHDATA is able to link Child Welfare and Children’s Behavioral Health Services and Assessments into one report so that:
- Child welfare caseworkers can understand behavior and mental health related issues leading to foster care placement disruption
- Behavioral health clinicians can understand the family environment and placement stability which might influence behavior and treatment planning