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From Data To Decisions: What Is Needed For Planning Public Services?

Published by Admin in Adverse Childhood

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State agencies finance and administer a range of services -- from foster care for abused and neglected children to prisons to long-term care of the elderly. How can large public agencies and small community organizations plan better to meet the needs of the people they serve?Traditionally, useful and timely data for planning purposes have been in short supply. Recent research linking data across a number of public agencies has highlighted some significant findings about state services and the people who use them.One study suggests that comparatively few families consume the lion's share of Illinois's service resources. Researchers looked at five services-mental health care, substance abuse treatment, foster care, adult incarceration, and juvenile incarceration-and found that the 23 percent of Illinois families using multiple services accounted for 86 percent of the dollars spent on those services.Another study -- of former prisoners in Illinois -- showed that 52 percent of them went to Chicago, and that 34 percent of those returned to six economically and socially disadvantaged communities.These studies raise important questions for service providers about the needs of the people they help and the allocation of resources to do so.PanelistsThomas Finnegan, executive director, KaleidoscopeRobert Goerge, research fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of ChicagoNancy La Vigne, director, Justice Policy Center, Urban InstituteErwin McEwen, director, Illinois Department of Children and Family ServicesMatthew Stagner (moderator), executive director, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

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