Sharing Information To Serve Children

18.02.21 08:26 PM By Samantha Lape

Community Data Sharing Overview

The main purpose of community data sharing is to create a community-wide information system that supports interactions with many service providers to deliver a comprehensive, longitudinal perspective on each child, leveraging data and technology to provide better, faster, and continuously improved services. In Community Data Sharing Initiatives - Community Collaboratives - participants share information regarding the children they serve. It is essential to have a clear definition of how the sharing is managed and authorized and which information is shared. 

The Backbone Organization (Longitudinal Community Database) of the collaborative is the lead partner organization that is responsible for community agreements on data governance and data sharing, an agreed-upon approach to parent consent, collaborative goals, and the associated data set to be shared. This organization is responsible for Data Management Services: the “scoping” of data access for data sharing partners and users, defining the approach to mapping children between organizations, consent administration, and an approach to managing data quality. [e.g. duplicates]

  • Legal Data Sharing - Community Agreement
  • Organization & User Scoping 
  • Child-Organization Mapping
  • Consent Administration
  • Data Quality

Data Users are partner organizations that are interested in accessing the Data Contributors’ child-related information either in aggregated, de-identified or identifiable format. The leverage the COMET Community Reporter. Commonly, Data Users are also Data Contributors, but not necessarily (e.g.: funding organizations like United Way, County, or City services).

  • Aggregated & De-Identified Community Reports & Exports
  • Geo-Coded Map Demographics
  • Data For Program Evaluators
  • Compare Your Organization To The Community
  • Identifiable Data Reports & Exports, For Those With Proper Consent

COMET Operations

Data Contributors are partner organizations that directly interact with children and record child-driven information in COMET, or in their own operational database - Pass-thru Data Contributor -- that will be integrated into the data-sharing initiative. Another approach to contributing data is to provide program participation as a Roster Data Contributor through a list of your children (ID, last, first, DOB, gender). Note that contributors "own" the data they contribute in an explicit or implicit agreement of confidentiality [e.g.: Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)] with each child’s parent.

Data Contributors - Collected In COMET

  • Community Organization Running Programs & Providing Support
  • Funder Collecting Data From Multiple Service Providers
  • School District SEL Program
  • City Sending Data (Pass-Thru)

Data Contributors - Collected External To COMET

  • Student Information Systems (SIS)
  • Community-Based Organizations
  • Government & Heath Systems

Parent Portal

Parent / Guardian involvement is key to a data-sharing initiative. COMET’s community data sharing solution supports parent approval of the sharing of their child’s data. Recording and leveraging parent consent is fundamental to a data-sharing initiative. 

  • Parents Understand & Control Their Child's Data & Can See Their Child's Information, Including Assessment Results
  • They Can Provide Input On Their Child & Communicate With Those Who Work With Them

Community Reporting 

COMET’s community data sharing solution is powered by our sophisticated reporting application - COMET Community Reporter, supporting aggregated and de-identified community reports and exports, geo-coded map demographic visualization, data for program evaluators, community comparison reports, and identifiable data reports and exports. 

  • Aggregated reports: Typically, such reports may pull data from multiple Data Contributors and consolidate / aggregate accordingly. These reports are authorized through the data-sharing agreement between the service provider partners. 
  • De-identified child-level reports or data extraction: Typically, these reports are used for research purposes. Records are de-identified meaning that they do not contain any data element that could identify a child (e.g.: name, ID, etc). These reports are authorized through data-sharing agreements between the service providers. 
  • Identifiable child-level records: It is possible to report on identifiable child data, but this data sharing requires valid parent consent and clear authorization from the Data Contributor.

Only data sharing can enable outcome measurement across organizations. So, if an after-school program and a school want to measure if their collective work has a positive impact on school attendance and academic outcomes, and to determine which programs are effective and to fund, data sharing is essential.

Ideally, every community's child-serving organizations will share data and collaborate to improve common goals; realizing the vision of a comprehensive, longitudinal community database supported through the efforts of Partner Organizations that work together in a Community Data Sharing Initiative in which its children are thriving.

Ready to join a collaborative? Take our readiness quiz.

Samantha Lape