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Dataset Details

National Child Welfare Information Study (NCWIS)

Dataset Number: 236


Brian Deakins, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Children's Bureau
Christine Leicht, Child Welfare Information Gateway
Michael Long, Child Welfare Information Gateway
Sharika Bhattacharya, Child Welfare Information Gateway
Elizabeth Eaton, Child Welfare Information Gateway
Dannele Ferreras, Child Welfare Information Gateway
Katelyn Sedelmyer, Child Welfare Information Gateway
Sarah Pfund, Child Welfare Information Gateway
Christina Zdawczyk, Child Welfare Information Gateway


How we access information and use technology is rapidly changing. With so many ways to access an ever increasing amount of information, it is becoming increasingly difficult for information clearinghouses and technical assistance providers to be responsive to the needs and preferences of a diverse child welfare workforce and to get useful, trusted information into the hands of those who need it most. The Child Welfare Information Gateway, funded by the Children's Bureau, conducted a research study to better understand how professionals search for, access, and share information, including their use of social media and technology. The study gathered data about the behaviors and preferences of current and future members of the child welfare workforce, including child welfare agency professionals, child welfare professionals working with Tribes, legal professionals, and students in social work programs through an online survey, tailored to each respondent group, and telephone focus groups. To ensure the study design and instruments were informed by appropriate stakeholders, various experts were engaged through stakeholder groups to provide structured feedback on overall study design, target audiences, and instrument development. Stakeholder groups were composed of experts in child welfare systems, issues, policies, technology, communication, and research methodology. Study participants were invited to be a part of the study through a variety of channels, including the agencies for which they worked, through intermediary organizations such as professional associations, and through contacts at university social work programs. Because of the different contexts of each of the targeted audiences, recruitment approaches were tailored and multiple methods were used to maximize responses. Ultimately, 4,134 individuals responded to the survey, including 3,191 child welfare agency professionals, 122 child welfare professionals working with Tribes, 371 legal professionals, and 450 students in social work programs. Study findings are meant to support the enhanced design and reach of information, resources, and services for child welfare agency administrators, program managers, supervisors, caseworkers, judges and attorneys, and future members of the child welfare workforce so that they are more accessible, useful, and effective for improving child welfare practice.

Bibliographic Citation

Deakins, B., Leicht, C., Long, M., Bhattacharya, S., Eaton, E., Ferreras, D., Sedelmyer, K., Pfund, S., & Zdawczyk, C. (2020). National Child Welfare Information Study (NCWIS) [Dataset]. National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Data Documentation

Publications from this Dataset