Sharing and Accessing Administrative Data: Promising Practices and Lessons Learned from the Child Maltreatment Incidence Data Linkages Project

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OPRE Report; 2022-107. Varley, Beth. Wuslin, Claire Smither. Mathematica. United States. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation. 2022

Accurate and ongoing surveillance of the incidence of child maltreatment and related risk and protective factors can help to inform policy and programs as well as shape prevention and intervention efforts. One promising approach to capturing this information is by linking local, state, or federal administrative records, such as those from child welfare, health, social services, education, public safety, and other agencies.

The Child Maltreatment Incidence Data Linkages project identified five research groups (sites) with experience using linked administrative data to examine child maltreatment incidence and related risk and protective factors and supported these sites to enhance their approaches to administrative data linkage through acquisition of new data sources, use of new methods, or replication of existing methods. The project assessed the feasibility of enhancing existing administrative linkages to produce new information on child maltreatment incidence and related risk and protective factors.

This brief highlights promising practices for sharing and accessing data and discusses lessons learned related to four key activities essential to sharing and accessing data: (1) developing agreements for data sharing and use; (2) protecting the data’s security, confidentiality, and privacy; (3) securing institutional review board (IRB) and other approvals; and (4) accessing the data.

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