Michigan turns to data warehousing to improve child services

The state of Michigan recently announced the expansion of a pilot program, using data warehousing and analytics to develop performance measurements for children enrolled in protection services. Both the State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) and the Michigan Department of Human Services (MDHS) are using Ingenix technology to improve children’s safety, health and living situation stability.

First developed in 1994, Michigan was the first state in the nation to use data warehousing technology to monitor Medicaid quality of care, fraud, abuse and overpayment. For the last year, a pilot project launched in Genesee, Saginaw and Livingston counties have completed nine of 62 performance measurements to improve child welfare.

“Our goal is to do a better job protecting the children in our care, who may be in an abusive or neglectful environment, by measuring our performance and prioritizing the areas that need improvement most,” State Court Administrator Carl Gromek said in a statement.

As the administrative arm of the Michigan Supreme Court, SCAO is charged with collecting data on courts’ caseloads, including case history and type. SCAO is also in charge of child welfare oversight when the courts make a decision and they can act as advisor to the court when children are or may become court wards.

For the current project, SCAO teamed with MDHS in order to share information accumulated by each agency to protect children, DHS Director Ismael Ahmed said. “We’re pleased to work with SCAO on this ambitious effort. It’s an excellent example of working not only across agencies, but across branches of government, to achieve a worthwhile goal – in this case, doing everything we can to protect children,” he said.

MDHS has over 16,000 children currently receiving foster care, residential or adoptive placement services. And last year, more than 124,000 complaints of child abuse and neglect were filed with DHS. In addition to MDHS and SCAO, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has expanded the data warehouse to include information from the state’s largest programs.

Ingenix is providing the informational and analytical backbone for the project, which seeks to monitor performance and case management in five areas: Safety, Permanency, Due Process, Timeliness and Well-being.

  • Safety: To ensure that children are safe from abuse and neglect while under court jurisdiction
  • Permanency: To ensure that children have stability and permanency in their living situations
  • Due Process: To ensure that cases are dealt with impartially and based on evidence before the court
  • Timeliness: To enhance the “expedition to permanency” by minimizing the time from filing of the petition to take jurisdiction over the child to permanency
  • Well-being: To examine and address factors other than safety and permanency that relate to a child’s future welfare. There are specific measures within this area that focus on physical health, mental health, and special education needs.

By processing cases faster and identifying children who have been in placement for a year or more, Michigan has increased its family reunification by 34 percent among temporary court wards. Due to this and other early wins, SCAO’s Child Welfare Services division recently received a federal Court Improvement Program (CIP) grant to help continued funding for the project.

“Michigan has once again shown its national leadership by using advanced technologies to address pressing societal issues – in this case, the protection of children,” Shelby Solomon, executive vice president, commercial and government health plan solutions at Ingenix, said in a statement. “We are pleased to be part of this breakthrough initiative that facilitates collaboration between two branches of Michigan’s government to conduct the analysis necessary to improve the well-being of these children.”