Administrative data can be a powerful tool for improving the lives of vulnerable children and families. This data, which is collected by public agencies as part of providing services, presents unique and often untapped opportunities for those funding and working in the social sector. Integrating administrative data sets across agencies can improve social sector policies and programs and increase access to the services that help children and their families thrive.

The Heising-Simons Foundation funded VIVA to conduct a worldwide scan of how administrative data has been used to create opportunity equity among all children by directly and indirectly improving educational outcomes. Through this research, VIVA identified 14 examples of effective or innovative data integration efforts that have helped to better support children and families.

Additionally, VIVA conducted a landscape analysis of how philanthropic organizations have supported the integration of administrative data and led to improved social sector outcomes. Five key takeaways from that analysis are below.

To learn more, download the Worldwide Scan full report or the executive summary of the philanthropy landscape analysis.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Administrative data is about system building. Data governance, partnerships, and creating a culture of collaboration must precede technology investments.
  2. Planning and capacity building are critical and require significant time and resources. System readiness needs to be evaluated up front, and investments in staff and/or technology may be needed.
  3. Focused goals ensure that success can be meaningfully tracked. Clear goals for improving child and family outcomes are key to staying on track during the long system-building process.
  4. Using data integration for case management presents unique challenges and exciting opportunities. Data accuracy is very important and service providers must be trained in how to use the data, but successful data integration has greatly increased students’ and families’ access to services and supports.
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