DHHS Launches COMPASS Child Welfare Data Base
New COMPASS web-based program brings to life information about federal and state outcomes for children and families served by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the courts.
"This is the first time this level of detail about our performance has been readily available to the public," said Todd Landry, director of the Division of Children and Family Services in DHHS. "COMPASS increases the focus on the child welfare system, on getting results, and on being accountable for serving children and families. I believe in making our progress transparent and accessible."
Anyone with access to the Internet can find COMPASS by going to the DHHS Web site at www.dhhs.ne.gov. Information will be updated monthly.
"The COMPASS interactive data base displays data in a clear and user-friendly format, usually with charts and graphs," Landry said. "Users can 'dial up' the most current data and see it statewide, by DHHS Service Area, and by judicial district."
Judge Lawrence Gendler, project chair of the Supreme Court initiative "Through the Eyes of A Child," sees access to this data as an opportunity to assist the judiciary and the justice system in meeting the goals of this collaborative project.
"We have 25 teams across the state actively engaged in implementing changes to the court process," he said. "Access to this information will help all of us as we move forward towards our goal of improving the system, establishing best practices, and ensuring that each child has an appropriate permanency plan."
The data includes outcomes and benchmarks established by the Federal Government for Federal Child and Family Service Reviews (CFSR) and for performance accountability measures developed by DHHS. It includes outcomes such as adoption within 24 months, placement stability, reunification with family in 12 months, and being safe in foster care.
CFSR benchmarks are recognized and used around the country for children who are victims of abuse and neglect and enter the child welfare system seeking reunification and permanency, according to Landry. Every state received an on-site review of its child welfare system that focused on the outcomes of safety, permanency and well-being for children and families. Nebraska was reviewed in 2002 and has another review scheduled for 2008.