The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of our lives, and California’s most vulnerable children and families are no exception. Fewer reports of child abuse and neglect have been made to the Child Protective Services (CPS) Hotline, but it is unlikely that this is a true indication of a reduction in maltreatment. In fact, child abuse and neglect may be increased due to the effects of the pandemic (potentially related to unemployment, school closures, and changes in service delivery). It seems likely that patterns in the number and types of CPS reports will continue to be affected by the pandemic for quite some time.
To better understand current and potential changes in CPS reports we examined pre-pandemic baseline information on CPS reports in California and Los Angeles County (years 2017 -2019). This summary shows the distribution of reports by reporter type (i.e., the individual who reported suspected maltreatment to the Hotline). Data were also disaggregated by race/ethnicity in response to concerns about racial disparities at all levels of CPS involvement.
Regan Foust, Executive Director of the Children’s Data Network, was invited to represent the Children’s Data Network at the California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Data Expo on January 21, 2021. The session, CHHS Success Stories: Turning Data Into Action, was organized to tell the story of the rapid launch of mychildcare.ca.gov – a searchable website built to help essential workers find child care during the pandemic. Collectively, the panel discussion underscored the importance of in making the concept a reality. Additionally, Regan was able to show how child care facility information can be combined with information about the children living in those areas (from the periodic record reconciliations conducted by the CDN). Pairing places with people, she reinforced, can facilitate equity, inform policy, and generate programmatic insights.
A recording of the entire CHHS 2021 Data Expo can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j54QqL_S1xc
A recording of the CHHS Success Stories: Turning Data Into Action session can be found here (CDN panel begins at 35:12): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrBFIpMS4Lk
More information about CHHS Data integration efforts can be found on the CDN project page, Record Reconciliation and Data Hub, and in this recent Health Affairs Article, Integrating Data To Advance Research, Operations, and Client-Centered Services In California
Lindsey Palmer, Doctoral Student at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and Research Assistant at the Children’s Data Network, received the California American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (CAPSAC) Paul Crissey Graduate Student Research Award for her outstanding research, A Population-Based Examination of Adolescent Suicide and Child Protective Service Involvement. In addition to a generous financial prize, she has been invited to present her work at an upcoming conference and publish a research summary in the Spring 2020 issue of the CAPSAC Consultant. We are excited to see the growth in Lindsey’s research and hope her research will continue to make meaningful impacts in public child welfare systems. Congratulations Lindsey!
On January 25th, 2021, the CDN had the opportunity to present its work to identify strategies for constructing households and families with linked administrative records at an Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) Family-Specific Working Session. Regan Foust, Executive Director and Research Scientist for the Children’s Data Network, and Stephanie Cuccaro-Alamin, Research Associate for the Children’s Data Network and Research Associate at the California Child Welfare Indicators Project (CCWIP) at UC Berkeley, lead the discussion, presenting results from their recently published paper, Strategies for Constructing Household and Family Units with Linked Administrative Records (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105706). In addition, they described California Health and Human Services (CHHS) efforts to integrate client records across programs / departments and identify concrete strategies that could be used to construct households and family units in the data generated from these periodic record reconciliations, specifically.
A recording of the session can be found here (passcode: A$t@9ZyL)
The slide deck and additional information can be found here: https://www.datanetwork.org/research/chhs-record-reconciliation-and-research-data-hub/
Now Available: Joint Guidance Regarding Information Sharing to Identify Common Clients Between Social Service Agencies
The California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and the Bureau of Children’s Justice within the California Department of Justice (DOJ) have jointly clarified the conditions under which public social services agencies are permitted to use data matching to share client information. This guidance, developed in partnership with state and local jurisdictions, including the Los Angeles County Office of Child Protection (OCP), is meant to facilitate the secure integration of client records with the aim of reducing the inefficient use of resources, increasing client satisfaction, and improving program effectiveness. Aside from the potential departmental, client, and population-wide benefits of such initiatives, we were proud to have the protocols to which the CDN has long adhered regarded as standard operating procedures for the secure linkage and analysis of cross-program (and cross-agency) records.
Rebecca Rebbe, Assistant Professor with the USC Children’s Data Network, received the 2020 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. This award is given to the dissertation that “has the greatest potential for making a significant contribution to the child maltreatment theoretical and applied knowledge base.” We are honored to help extend that work in California, Rebecca, and pleased to see your work receive the recognition it deserves.
In its newest article, COVID-19 Crisis and Recovery, Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP) touted our partnership with the state and OpenLattice to build and launch mychildcare.ca.gov, an online tool to connect essential workers to available child care slots, as an example of how integrated administrative data has been applied – and proven helpful – in the context of state-level crisis response and rebuilding. In addition to reinforcing how such projects can meet immediate, pressing, and concrete family needs, the article also highlights how these efforts became opportunities to validate the CHHS Data Hub, a secure, cloud-based research enclave for hosting linked research data sets, which was at that time, still under development, and routinize processes related to efficient data sharing and analysis.
On May 2nd, 2019, Lindsey Palmer, Research Assistant at the Children’s Data Network, passed her qualifying exam with distinction and advanced to candidacy for her doctorate. Her paper, “A Case Control Study of Suicide Risk Among Adolescents with a History of Alleged Maltreatment” presents a population-based analysis of the child protective service (CPS) histories of adolescents who died by suicide and examines the child maltreatment characteristics and system level responses associated with risk of adolescent suicide. We are so proud of you, and thrilled that you are part of the CDN team!
Eunhye Ahn, Research Assistant at the Children’s Data Network passed her qualifying exam on May 12th, 2020, with distinction and has advanced to candidacy for her doctorate. In addition, she presented her paper, “Machine Learning for a Child Welfare System: Predicting Risk of Aging Out Among Foster Care Youth” during a CDN brownbag session, expertly highlighting the findings and facilitating discussion among the attendees. We are so proud of you, Eunhye, and thrilled to have you on our team.