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Ohio Children’s Trust Fund Helps Families in Need
Ohio Children’s Trust Fund Helps Families in Need

Background and Summary

The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF), housed within the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), has partnered with the InnovateOhio Platform (IOP), to better assist its service providers to reduce data entry and reporting on behalf of the families they serve.  The OCTF’s mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect through investing in strong communities, healthy families and safe children.

To achieve its mission, the OCTF grants funding to local service providers and county agencies to provide programs to families in need across the state.  These evidence-based programs can utilize various intake forms and assessment tools to learn more about the families served.  Prior to working with IOP, there was limited uniformity in intake forms and assessment tools across different service providers and an antiquated and cumbersome database which served as a central data repository. Thus, the OCTF saw a need for a single data collector to accurately gather information and provide outcomes as they relate to OCTF funded services.

Enhancing Data Collection Methods

Because these service providers adhere to evidence-based programs, where each program has assessment tools to track outcomes specific to its program, the OCTF was experiencing challenges reporting on collective impact from an organizational perspective.  Thus, the OCTF saw a need to develop standard questions to utilize as a common intake form for all providers, and two assessment tools were selected to be used across all funded services. Once the tools were finalized, the IOP team used IOP Web Forms to place these forms on the OCTF website so that service providers and families can go directly to the website and enter de-identified participant-level data.  A data resource on the back end is then continuously updated/managed and utilizes drill-down functionality so the data can be automatically assigned to the correct county, program, and service provider. This ensures all data is connected to the appropriate regions of the state.

This method of data collection became essential with the onset of COVID because providers needed to find a new method to collect data from families in a virtual setting.  Families or providers start by entering participant-level data into the online forms. This data is combined with past years’ historical data that IOP ingested and aggregated, enabling the OCTF to see a full, multi-year picture of the families they serve.  The IOP team then creates visualizations of both historical and new data on Tableau dashboards.  Features included on this internal dashboard include demographics and performance measurements on how well service providers are generating positive outcomes for families.  This dashboard provides a system and state-level immediate snapshot of the families providers are serving, demonstrating protective factors, while also showing risk-factors and vulnerabilities for families. This data is able to demonstrate to the OCTF the ongoing needs of the families served via OCTF funding.

Real-time updates provide Results

By having real-time data entry, the OCTF is able to support providers in understanding which families may be showing risk factors for child abuse or experiencing other factors that may indicate a concern for the family. Utilizing the built-in scoring algorithms generated by IOP into the dashboards, the OCTF is able to mitigate risk by providing the most up-to-date information to providers pertaining to which families may need additional supports.  All data is securely de-identified on the InnovateOhio Platform, and providers are able to receive reports tracking their participants’ unique IDs to follow-up with families and connect them to applicable resources