types of data, including multiple sources of confidential administrative data. In this section, we discuss information from 14 welfare leavers studies.15 These include projects that received fiscal year 1998 ASPE grants to study the outcomes of individuals and families who left the TANF program, and Texas.16 (We refer to this group of projects as “Welfare Leavers Studies”.)
This research began by reviewing the findings from the inventory of research uses of social services administrative data in 26 states that UC DATA completed in 1999. A series of questions then was developed as the basis for telephone interviews with the state officials and researchers conducting ASPE-funded Welfare Leavers Studies. Officials and researchers working on these studies were queried about their experiences with confidentiality and data access. More than 20 individuals in the 14 locations listed in Box 8–1 were interviewed in winter 1999/2000.
In the course of our interviews with Welfare Leavers Studies representatives, we identified 12 guiding principles or practices we believe to be at the heart of successfully overcoming issues of data confidentiality and privacy. We found repeated examples of these principles or practices being put into action across the country in varying ways. They are listed in Box 8–2. The principles, the keys to data collaboration, fell naturally into four categories that are discussed in more detail later: the characteristics of the requesting organization, the characteristics of the organization providing the data, the characteristics of the requesting organization, the “contract” process itself, and the legal framework.