The California Department of Social Services Research Branch has prepared two such model documents: “The CDSS Confidentiality and Security Policy” and “The Guidelines for the Preparation of A Protocol.” Also, in the new environment of “Data Stewardship,” Wisconsin is developing templates and exemplar agreements.
Principle 10, “Put in Writing Mechanisms for Monitoring Confidentiality and Security and for Sanctioning Breaches,” discusses briefly which confidentiality and security procedures one might want to include in a contract and therefore in the archive of documents.
In some cases, a “super agency” organization can facilitate sharing of data among departments within the agency. For example, in response to the latest welfare reforms, some states combined state agencies under an umbrella organization. In most cases, administrative data are considered to be owned by this overarching agency. Although this does not eliminate the need for appropriate bureaucratic negotiation on data access, in most cases it makes the process easier.
One respondent referred to the Illinois Department of Human Services as a “super agency.” The department handles data for AFDC/TANF, the Food Stamps Program, Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) (family case management), Medicaid, and Child Care programs (and their data). Gaining access to some of these data was reported to be easier because of the “super agency” structure. It was reported that gaining access to data from Substance Abuse and WIC (family case management), although by no means easy, would have been even harder had not the agencies been part of this “super agency.”
The Arizona Department of Economic Security (ADES) also can be considered a super agency. ADES covers a broad range of programs, including AFDC/ TANF, Food Stamp Program, Medicaid, Child Welfare, Child Care, and Child Support Enforcement and Unemployment Insurance. A respondent reported that no interagency data access agreements were necessary with any of these programs because of this all-encompassing administrative structure.
A centrally located institution or center can help facilitate data access. This center can be placed in the state government or outside, and it can serve a number of purposes.
First, a central organization can serve as a data archive or data warehouse that actually stores data from multiple state agencies, departments, and divisions.