• November 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 10

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Child Welfare Data Sources

The State Policy Advocacy and Reform Center (SPARC) published a research brief highlighting how consumers of child welfare research can access data from the field and use them to inform their work on issues related to vulnerable children and families. The brief gives an overview for each of the relevant datasets used by the child welfare community. It includes information on Federal sources for child welfare data; other Federal data sources that provide contextual information about the broader population of children, families, and communities; and additional, non-Federal resources containing child welfare data.

For each of these Federal child welfare data sources, the brief provides detailed information on how to access the datasets, how the data can be utilized, and examples of reports with tabulated statistics from the data sources. The brief covers the following federally sponsored datasets specific to the population of children and youth involved with child welfare:

  • Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)
  • National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS)
  • National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW)
  • National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD)

Datasets highlighted in the brief that pertain to the broader population of children and families and not just those involved with child welfare include the following:

  • American Community Survey (ACS)
  • National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH)
  • National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP)
  • National Survey of Children in Non-Parental Care (NSCNC)

The brief concludes with case study examples from Pennsylvania that illustrate how data can be used by child welfare advocates. Knowing the Numbers: Accessing and Using Child Welfare Data is available on the SPARC website:

http://childwelfaresparc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Knowing-the-Numbers.pdf (521 KB)

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