Promoting Sustainable Data Use in State Programs

Toolkit by Chapin Hall:”…helps public sector agencies build the culture and infrastructure to apply data analysis routinely, effectively, and accurately—what we call “sustainable data use.”  It is meant to serve as a hands-on resource, containing strategies and tools for agencies seeking to grow their analytic capacity. 

Administrative data can be a rich source of information for human services agencies seeking to improve programs. But too often, data use in state agencies is temporary, dependent on funds and training from short-term resources such as pilot projects and grants. How can agencies instead move from data to knowledge to action routinely, creating a reinforcing cycle of evidence-building and program improvement?

Chapin Hall experts and experts at partner organizations set out to determine who achieves sustainable data use and how they go about doing so. Building on previous work and the results of a literature review, we identified domains that can significantly influence an agency’s ability to establish sustainable data practices. We then focused on eight state TANF agencies and three partner organizations with demonstrated successes in one or more of these domains, and we interviewed staff who work directly with data to learn more about what strategies they used to achieve success. We focused on what worked rather than what didn’t. From those interviews, we identified common themes, developed case studies, and generated tools to help agencies develop sustainable data practices…(More)”.