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


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. This case study presents the experiences of this agency, describing the process by which the research and evaluation manager was hired, how data are now used by the agency, significant changes resulting from the agency's new data use practices, and perspectives of the evaluator and staff on data use and changes in agency culture.

Winship, K.
Austin, M.J.
Publication date: 
March 12, 2012
Publication type: 
Journal Article