An Integrated Data System for Baltimore
In partnership with agencies and organizations across the city, we are developing an Integrated Data System (IDS) that will provide better data about the needs of children, youth, and families in Baltimore. By linking data across agencies, we will be able to understand the complex, interconnected issues facing children and families in the city and design programs that better meet the needs of our community.
What is an Integrated Data System?
An Integrated Data System creates a central archive for data that is linked at the individual level, with all potential identifying information removed to protect the privacy of individuals. It offers a secure and sustained system that enables public service providers, policy makers, and researchers to share and use data between multiple agencies and organizations.
A permanent IDS is more secure and efficient for agencies than ad hoc data sharing and offers a way for Baltimore stakeholders to harness the power of data to solve problems and assess the effectiveness of programs, working across systems.
What Kind of Data is Included in an IDS?
IDS partners and community stakeholders collaborate on “use cases” – demonstration projects that link data from multiple agencies – to address issues that are important to the community.
For example, an IDS use case on “opportunity youth” may link data from foster care, juvenile services, public housing, homeless services, out-of-school time, social services, early childhood programs, education, and employment to understand the causes of long-term disconnection from higher education and workforce opportunities and design programs to intervene early with supportive services.
How can an IDS help Baltimore?
People who access services routinely connect with multiple programs and agencies. But, the data remains siloed by organization. Risks facing children and youth, particularly in areas of concentrated poverty, are multiple, compound, and complex.
With an IDS, stakeholders can better understand interrelated needs of communities and compare services and outcomes across groups by gender, race/ ethnicity, place, and program-specific subpopulations (e.g. foster youth or youth experiencing homelessness) to address inequities in resources and opportunities.
With an IDS, Baltimore can:
• Know how many students in a school are experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness and therefore are eligible for supplemental support resources that make it possible for them to attend.
• Learn about the relationship between the education and employment opportunities and outcomes of young parents and their children’s access to important early childhood services including prenatal care, preschool, and health/ dental/ and vision care that affect children’s ability to learn.
• Know how many children and youth interact with both the foster care and juvenile services systems and understand the support services they need to thrive as young adults.
Accountability and Governance
Administrative data in Baltimore is generated by and belongs to the people of Baltimore. All stakeholders, including the public, benefit from comprehensive data accessed in a way that protects individual privacy and security. Through community advisory committees and work groups, stakeholders can raise questions that matter to the community. By making the findings publicly available, everyone benefits from a citywide IDS.
The Baltimore IDS will be governed by a board made up of the executive leadership of the agencies that contribute data and informed by community stakeholders. Only authorized individuals will be allowed to access the IDS and only upon approval of the Governing Board in accordance with its governance policies and procedures.
Watch this video from the Children’s Data Network.
Visit the website for Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy.