We recently submitted comments on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) proposed rules updating regulations on child welfare technology systems. We are pleased to see these proposed new regulations support ACF’s work to help states update their systems and put better tools in the hands of child welfare workers. The proposed Comprehensive Child Welfare Information Systems (CCWIS) regulations are a major step toward achieving that, and improving outcomes for children and families nationwide. These proposed rules would replace the existing State and Tribal Automated Child Welfare Information System (S/TACWIS regulations), which were first established in 1993.
It is significant that the Department of Health and Human Services’ proposed CCWIS rules expand the opportunity for modern technology to support the evolution of child welfare practice and improve child welfare outcomes. Updating the regulations for technology used by child welfare agencies has the potential to help agency workers – from the front office to the front lines – do their jobs better, reduce staff turnover and improve outcomes for children and families nationwide, all while saving states and the federal government money.
We applaud the new CCWIS regulations’ focus on flexibility, data quality and data sharing, which will encourage states to build systems that meet their needs by taking advantage of best practices and innovations available across the public and private sectors. With this greater flexibility, state and local agencies will be better positioned to adopt advancements in technology that support practice improvement and to build systems to meet their business needs. The new regulations’ emphasis on data quality and sharing will also better support child welfare workers at all levels, informing decision making and encouraging best practices.
We are optimistic about the final rule’s potential to support the evolution of child welfare practice and improve outcomes for children and families. The proposed revisions indicate a clear understanding of the power of modern technology to support government services nationwide to protect those most in need. The proposed rule, with the clarifications and additions we have suggested, will allow states to adopt child welfare technology systems that improve outcomes through the combination of services and data integration.