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How can a state track its social service efforts and build trust among partners and stakeholders?

Creating a wellness dashboard to enable North Carolina to track activities addressing social service needs

North Carolina wanted a tool that would allow it to better administer and supervise its activities in social services programs in the state’s 100 counties. The state’s General Assembly enacted S.L. 2017-41 (House Bill 630) that required developing a public-facing dashboard, including a standard set of performance and outcome metrics that indicate how effectively the components of the social services system are working. Westat provided support by developing the dashboard and reviewing administrative data to assess program functioning.

Westat collaborated with leaders from North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to improve data-driven practices by developing a sustainable and cost-effective technical solution. The Westat team built a series of social service area dashboards in Tableau to support a culture of learning for government leaders, and state and county agency staff, as well as to help DHHS build trust with the general public and families receiving social services.

Featuring best practices in data visualization and a user-friendly interface, the North Carolina Social Services Transparency and Wellness dashboards display key performance indicators in the program areas of Aging and Adult, Child Support, Child Welfare, Energy, Food and Nutrition, and Work First (TANF) to improve state and local service delivery.

Westat’s team of experts applied their skills to refine relevant data metrics and turn complex, cross-agency and community data into a clear visual story.

The dashboard now functions to bring together state and local agency staff to

  • Identify service priorities
  • Strengthen collaboration within and across agencies
  • Support public transparency and accountability
  • Foster a culture of learning using data in support of improving outcomes for families and children

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