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Dataset Details

Voluntary Cooperative Information System (VCIS) Multi-Year File (1982-1995)

Dataset Number: 247


Original Investigator(s):
American Public Human Service Association (APHSA) (Formerly American Public Welfare Association (APWA))

Secondary Investigators:
Alexander F. Roehrkasse, Ph.D. - Duke University
Chiara Fontaine - Cornell University
LeAnn McDowall - Cornell University
Sarah Sernaker, M.S. - Duke University
Clayton C. Covington, B.A. - Duke University


The Voluntary Cooperative Information System (VCIS) compiled aggregate information about children who experienced substitute care in the United States between 1982 and 1995. Substitute care data were collected voluntarily by the American Public Welfare Association (APWA) from state agencies administering public child welfare programs. VCIS data are annual state-level counts of children entering, in, and exiting substitute care, tabulated by various child attributes such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, or duration of care. The VCIS therefore provides a basis for both cross-sectional and longitudinal state-level analysis, including through linkage to aggregated data from its successor, the Adoption and Foster Care Reporting and Analysis System (AFCARS).

Note that VCIS data have significant limitations in terms of coverage and reliability, and users are strongly encouraged to read the User Guide carefully before using the data.

Bibliographic Citation

Roehrkasse, A.F., Fontaine, C., McDowall, L., Sernaker, S. & Covington, C. C. (2021). Voluntary Cooperative Information System (VCIS) Foster Care Multi-Year File (1982-1995) [Dataset]. National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect.

Data Documentation

Publications from this Dataset