Finding Data and Information to Inform Decisions

Data and information come in different forms, depending on the problem at hand.

Reliable data will help you understand and address key issues when making decisions about programs, policies, and practices.

Statewide Youth Advisory Boards Make Data-Informed Policy Decisions
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Data Resources to Guide Decision-Making

Youth Advisory Councils (YACs) can use available data sources to identify projects and guide decisions. Members can ask an expert to help determine which data to use or make sense of the data.

Statewide Youth Advisory Boards Make Data-Informed Policy Decisions
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For the Pennsylvania Youth Advisory Board, data are at the core of its work.1 The Board includes current and former youth from the child welfare system ages 16 to 21 years old. The Board’s goal is to create positive changes in the child welfare system. They raise awareness about issues for youth in the foster program and organize community service events.

Before acting on any new project, the Board uses data to assess the issue and the needs of the community. Next, the Board analyzes the data to inform policies and achieve the desired outcomes for the community. For instance, the Pennsylvania Youth Advisory Board used data when deciding to support the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008. This act seeks to improve outcomes for children in foster care and improve incentives for adoption, among other measures, in Pennsylvania.

1 Center for the Study of Social Policy. (n.d.). Youth advisory board. Pennsylvania Child Welfare Resource Center.