Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Save to My Library
Look up keyword or section
Like this
3Activity
P. 1
GAO Most States Are Developing Statewide Information Systems, but the Reliability of Child Welfare Data Could Be Improved

GAO Most States Are Developing Statewide Information Systems, but the Reliability of Child Welfare Data Could Be Improved

Ratings: (0)|Views: 475 |Likes:
Published by Beverly Tran
HHS reported that 47 states are developing or operating a SACWIS, but many continue to face challenges developing their systems. Most state officials said they recognize the benefit their state will achieve by developing SACWIS, such as contributing to the timeliness of child abuse and neglect investigations; however, despite the availability of federal funds since 1994, states reported a median delay of 2-1⁄2 years beyond the timeframes they set for completion. States reported that they encountered some difficulties during SACWIS development, such as challenges receiving state funding and creating a system that reflected their work processes. In response to some of these challenges, HHS has provided technical assistance to help states develop their systems and conducted on-site reviews of SACWIS to verify that the systems meet federal requirements.
HHS reported that 47 states are developing or operating a SACWIS, but many continue to face challenges developing their systems. Most state officials said they recognize the benefit their state will achieve by developing SACWIS, such as contributing to the timeliness of child abuse and neglect investigations; however, despite the availability of federal funds since 1994, states reported a median delay of 2-1⁄2 years beyond the timeframes they set for completion. States reported that they encountered some difficulties during SACWIS development, such as challenges receiving state funding and creating a system that reflected their work processes. In response to some of these challenges, HHS has provided technical assistance to help states develop their systems and conducted on-site reviews of SACWIS to verify that the systems meet federal requirements.

More info:

Published by: Beverly Tran on May 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

07/22/2011

pdf

text

original

 
 
Report to Congressional Requesters
United States General Accounting Office
GAO
July 2003
CHILD WELFAREMost States AreDeveloping StatewideInformation Systems,but the Reliability of Child Welfare DataCould Be Improved
GAO-03-809
 
HHS reported that 47 states are developing or operating a SACWIS, but manycontinue to face challenges developing their systems. Most state officialssaid they recognize the benefit their state will achieve by developingSACWIS, such as contributing to the timeliness of child abuse and neglectinvestigations; however, despite the availability of federal funds since 1994,states reported a median delay of 2-½ years beyond the timeframes they setfor completion. States reported that they encountered some difficultiesduring SACWIS development, such as challenges receiving state funding andcreating a system that reflected their work processes. In response to some of these challenges, HHS has provided technical assistance to help statesdevelop their systems and conducted on-site reviews of SACWIS to verifythat the systems meet federal requirements.
 
Despite efforts to implement comprehensive information systems, severalfactors affect the states’ ability to collect and report reliable adoption, fostercare, and child abuse and neglect data. States responding to GAO’s surveyand officials in the 5 states GAO visited reported that insufficientcaseworker training and inaccurate and incomplete data entry affect thequality of the data reported to HHS. In addition, states reported technicalchallenges reporting data. Despite HHS’s assistance, many states reportongoing challenges, such as the lack of clear and documented guidance onhow to report child welfare data. In addition, although states were mandatedto begin reporting data to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis andReporting System (AFCARS) in 1995, few reviews of states’ AFCARSreporting capabilities have been conducted to assist states in resolving someof their reporting challenges.
 
Some states are using a variety of practices to address the challengesassociated with developing SACWIS and improving data reliability. Forexample, 44 states included caseworkers and other system users in thedesign and testing of SACWIS, and 28 states reported using approaches tohelp caseworkers identify and better understand the data elements that arerequired for federal reporting.
Factors That Affect the Reliability of Data Reported to HHS
Which may lead toinaccurate measures of:
State performanceon federal outcomesChildren'sexperiences,such as timespent infostercare
  I n  f o r m a  t  i o n
Factors affecting data quality:
Inaccurate and incomplete data-entry by caseworkersInsufficient caseworker trainingDifferences between state andfederal data definitionsLack of clear, documentedguidance from HHSDifficulty accessing technicalassistance from HHS
Source: GAO analysis.
Resulting inpotentially unreliableinformation on abusedand neglectedchildren available infederal data systems
 
To better monitor children andfamilies served by state childwelfare agencies, Congressauthorized matching funds for thedevelopment of statewideautomated child welfareinformation systems (SACWIS) andrequired that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)compile information on thechildren served by state agencies.This report reviews (1) states’experiences in developing childwelfare information systems andHHS’s role in assisting in theirdevelopment, (2) factors that affectthe reliability of data that statescollect and report on childrenserved by their child welfareagencies and HHS’s role inensuring the reliability of thosedata, and (3) practices that childwelfare agencies use to overcomechallenges associated with SACWISdevelopment and data reliability.In order to improve the reliabilityof state-reported child welfaredata, GAO recommends that theSecretary of HHS consider ways toenhance the guidance andassistance offered to states to helpthem overcome the key challengesin collecting and reporting
 
childwelfare data. In commenting onthis report, HHS generally agreedwith GAO’s findings andcommented that the report provides a useful perspective of the problems states face in collectingdata and of HHS’s effort to provideongoing technical assistance toimprove child welfare data.
www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-809.  To view the full product, including the scopeand methodology, click on the link above.For more information, contact Cornelia M.Ashby at (202) 512-8403 orAshbyC@gao.gov.Highlights ofGAO-03-809,a report to Congressional Requesters
July 2003
CHILD WELFARE
Most States Are Developing StatewideInformation Systems, but the Reliabilityof Child Welfare Data Could Be Improved
 
 Page i GAO-03-809 Child Welfare
Letter
1
 
Results in Brief 2
 
Background 5
 
Most States Are Developing SACWIS, but Challenges RemainDespite HHS’s Oversight and Technical Assistance 10
 
Several Factors Affect the States’ Ability to Ensure Reliable Dataon Children’s Experiences, and Some of HHS’s Oversight and Assistance Is Problematic 24
 
States Are Using Various Practices to Overcome SystemDevelopment Challenges and Improve Data on Children’sExperiences 38
 
Conclusion 42
 
Recommendation to the Secretary
o
f Health and Human Services 43
 
 Agency Comments 43
 
 Appendix I Scope and Methodology
47
 Appendix II State SACWIS Stages of Development
49
 Appendix III Comments from the Department of Health andHuman Services
50
 Appendix IV GAO Contacts and Acknowledgments
62GAO Contacts 62
 
Staff Acknowledgments 62
 
Bibliography
63
Related GAO Products
64
Tables
Table 1: Significant Child Welfare Information and Data Systems 6
 
Contents

Activity (3)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->