Today we take a look into a recent examination of child welfare data from Marquis Cabrera in a recent article in the Huffington Post. Cabrera – the founder and CEO of Fosters Skill, Inc, a charity working to support foster children – interviews Dr. Benjamin de Haan, Executive Director of Partners For Our Children (POC). POC is a research and data intelligence organisation that supports the Washington State Department of Social and Health Service and other philanthropic services to improve the lives of vulnerable children.
The full interview can be found here, but we would like to take a moment to pick out a few pieces that we thought would resonate with the Markets For Good audience. Firstly, de Haan emphasises the scale of the problem facing child in America today. In order to effectively tackle this, he argues for creating “changes based on concrete evidence, not political ideology or the prevailing conventional wisdom.” As such, POC focuses “on systems research and data analysis to inform child welfare practice and policy.”
With the support of Ballmer Family Giving, Stuart Foundation, Giddens Foundation, Casey Family Programs and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they have built a data rich portal for child welfare organisations. The goal of the portal is “to enhance transparency, build understanding and provide decision support for child welfare practitioners and policymakers” across the State of Washington.
The fact that we are seeing more of this kind of data work, and more foundations funding it, is indicative of the evolving attitude to data. As stated in the article, data is critical “when making decisions about practice or policy, especially when these decisions have potential to significantly affect the lives of children and families.”
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