• June 2016
  • Vol. 17, No. 4

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New Rule for Child Welfare Information Systems

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published regulations for a new case management information system to help State and Tribal title IV-E agencies better develop and support their child welfare programs. The Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) Final Rule replaces the Statewide and Tribal Automated Child Welfare Information Systems (S/TACWIS), developed in 1993, and addresses the significant changes in child welfare practice and technology that have evolved over the past 23 years.

In contrast to the single comprehensive information systems prescribed by S/TACWIS regulations, the more flexible CCWIS regulations allow agencies to develop smaller systems that are targeted to agencies' needs. Agencies will have greater opportunity to implement innovation and technology to share data between multiple systems and build a "sized-to-fit" application. The final rule's four key provisions are as follows:

  • Promote data sharing with other agencies: If practicable, title IV-E agencies should exchange data with other health and human service agencies, education systems, and child welfare courts in order to help coordinate services, eliminate redundancies, improve client outcomes, and improve data quality.   
  • Require quality data: Title IV-E agencies implementing a CCWIS must develop and implement data quality plans and processes to monitor data quality, as well as address and correct identified problems. 
  • Reduce mandatory functional requirements: CCWIS only has 14 requirements (as opposed to the minimum 51 requirements prescribed by S/TACWIS regulations). Agencies will be allowed to build functions in the CCWIS or collect needed data through exchanges with other systems.
  • Allow agencies to build systems tailored to their needs: Federal requirements for this optional system focus on quality data and exchanges between related information systems, thus allowing agencies to tailor systems to their unique needs rather than functions specified by the Federal Government. 

For more information about the CCWIS final rule, including a link to the rule itself, visit the Children's Bureau website at https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/research-data-technology/state-tribal-info-systems.

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