Data and Evaluation

Data is a river that flows through all aspects of tribal child welfare and ripples into the community. Gathering, organizing, and sharing data in a meaningful way can be challenging to navigate. Developing data capacity can feel like traveling from downstream to upstream. You may need someone who is further up the river to give guidance on how to avoid rough waters or undercurrents that may throw you off course.

The resources on this page are designed to support programs in managing tribal child welfare data, selecting and implementing data systems, and exploring geographic data.

Data in Tribal Child Welfare Programs


Data Overview: Using Data to Help Communities Thrive (E-Learning)

This interactive e-learning is designed to help tribal child welfare professionals consider how to use data to inform service delivery to children and families and help their communities thrive.

Research and Evaluation in Native Communities Resource List (PDF)

Developing tribal capacity to understand and conduct research and evaluation in tribal communities is an exercise in sovereignty. These resources can provide information to get you started.

Improving the Welfare of Native Children by Using & Managing Data (PDF)

Covering the basics of data, this brief resource includes information on how data can be used to address issues and help tribal child welfare programs thrive.

Making the Most of Your Data (Webinar Recording) 

Tribal child welfare programs collect data for many different reasons. Often these reasons are externally driven, like federal reporting or grant requirements; however, data can also be used for program improvement and to story of the program’s work with children, families, and the community. This webinar offers strategies to make the most of your data, including knowing how to ask questions of the data and understand the answers.

Keeping Tribal Child Welfare Data Safe While Working Remotely (PDF)

Tribal child welfare workers often work outside of their offices. This tip sheet offers suggestions for keeping information protected while working remotely.  

Geographic Information Systems


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are mapping programs for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographical reference information (e.g., addresses, tribal boundaries, social demographics), including sensitive or secure data. Tribes have traditionally used GIS for mapping jurisdictional boundaries, environmental resources, and cultural locations. Only in recent years have tribes also started using GIS for mapping health and human services data.

Mapping child welfare data can provide meaningful analysis of where to direct resources and build services to meet the needs of families where they are. GIS mapping software manages all types of geographical information (addresses, tribal boundaries, social demographics). GIS and child welfare are a natural fit. GIS mapping allows tribes to see where their children are located, whether on the reservation or states away. Any federally recognized tribe can receive GIS software and training free through the Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Geospatial Support.

Using GIS to Strengthen Practice and Inform Policy in Tribal Child Welfare Agencies (Webinar Recording)

This webinar discussed how geographic information systems (GIS) can help strengthen practice and inform policy in tribal child welfare agencies.


Using Geographic Data and GIS for Decision-Making in Tribal Child Welfare (PDF)

Mapping child welfare and geographic data together can help agencies locate potential foster homes, identify community services, and inform planning, service delivery and decision-making efforts.


Mapping to Protect Children and Preserve Communities (Webinar Recording)

Jhon Goes In Center and Kathryn Kulbiki from the Capacity Building Center for Tribes discuss the importance of using GIS in Indian child welfare in this recorded webinar.


Mapping to Protect Children & Preserve Communities (PDF)

Developed for tribal leaders and social service agencies, this resource explains the benefits of GIS mapping and ways tribes can use this technology to keep children connected with their community and culture.


Data System Procurement

These resources provide information to consider when planning for and implementing data systems in tribal child welfare programs.

Planning for Your Program’s Child Welfare Data System 

This two-page resource offers concise guiding questions for tribal child welfare program staff to consider as they develop or enhance a data system. 

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Navigating Rough Waters: Lessons Learned When Planning for a Child Welfare Data System 

This one-page resource offers suggestions for how tribes can stay on course when planning for and implementing a data system. 

Questions to Ask a Data System Vendor

Most child welfare professionals are not information technology (IT) experts, and your tribe’s IT department may not be familiar with all the ins and outs of case management systems. This guide will help you ask the right questions and use the answers to choose a system wisely.

Tribal Child Welfare Data System Procurement Webinar Series 

Hosted by the Capacity Building Center for Tribes and Children’s Bureau Division of State Systems, this 3-part webinar series provides a detailed framework of best practices in planning for and procuring a new case management system. Hear directly from tribal staff about their process for selecting and implementing a data system.

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The Children's Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds the Capacity Building Center for Tribes. The contents of this website and the resources herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Children's Bureau. 

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