Data Mining in Children and Family Services: The Contra Costa Experience

Winship, K.
Austin, M.J.

Despite access to a comprehensive administrative database that would allow for timely data retrieval and utilization, regular use of data to inform service provision remained infrequent at one children and family services agency. To address this issue, a research and evaluation manager was hired to facilitate regular data use and evidence-informed service provision. This led to a shift in agency culture that moved from viewing data collection as a burden and threat, to now valuing data as a powerful tool for improving programs and outcomes for children and families.

Assessing the potential for qualitative data mining in practice-based child welfare research

Carnochan, S.
Jacobs, L.
Austin, M.J.

The multifaceted, dynamic nature of child welfare interventions and the demand for evidence-informed practice calls for an array of practice-based research tools. This analysis examines the use of qualitative data mining related to narrative case record data to conduct practice-based research in child welfare. It includes a structured literature review, and case study results examining 1) qualitative data mining experiences in child welfare agencies and 2) the utility of case records as data sources.

Child Welfare Data Mining

The Mack Center initiated an innovative qualitative data mining project in partnership with the BASSC child welfare agencies in 2012. Utilizing narrative records contained in the agencies’ automated data systems, Mack Center researchers extract and analyze data to answer a wide array of practice questions. Previous analyses have examined case plan alignment and explored examples of skillful child welfare practice.