Comprehensive, longitudinal information is needed by researchers, policymakers, educators, and others to craft effective policy that improves and sustains outcomes for individuals and their communities. This requires the collection and integration of data across education, the workforce, social services, and more. Unfortunately, variations in state rules and supports, privacy concerns, and required knowledge of social service and labor laws make this task challenging.

WestEd’s new Data Integration Support Center (DISC), launched to coincide with Data Privacy Week (January 23–28), will help public agencies address those challenges and support data integration efforts.

DISC will support states’ efforts to ensure that the whole person is addressed in policy initiatives by helping states integrate data across key sectors in ways that protect privacy and ensure fidelity and transparency. The Center will provide comprehensive technical assistance to public agencies to address their privacy security and governance knowledge gaps and resource needs related to developing, sustaining, and maintaining integrated data systems.

DISC’s comprehensive technical assistance will center on four pillars:

  • Privacy and Governance
  • External Legal Supports
  • Legislative Analysis
  • System Security

DISC will also provide state agencies with tailored supports and resources, legal assistance, disclosure avoidance, and data governance expertise. Over time, DISC aims to build confidence in state data integration efforts, modernize and align privacy guidance across the sectors so that states can choose how they integrate all necessary data and develop systems by which states are able to integrate data while protecting privacy, building transparency, and ensuring security.

The new Center has registered as a Data Privacy Week Champion with the National Cybersecurity Alliance. As a 2023 Champion, DISC recognizes and actively supports the principle that all organizations share the responsibility of being conscientious stewards of personal information.

As part of its launch in recognition of Data Privacy Week 2023, DISC has also released two position papers:

DISC will support public agencies’ ongoing privacy efforts through:

  • Assisting in the design of an integrated data system’s architecture to support privacy at each stage of the integrated data systems lifecycle
  • Providing onsite or virtual facilitation and/or expertise for multi-jurisdictional integrated data efforts across sectors for legal, policy, technical, and leadership parties
  • Performing a statistical analysis of multi-agency linked data and recommending best approaches for performing statistical avoidance measures, with utility versus privacy in mind
  • Developing workgroups focused specifically on advanced challenges related to cross-sector IDS implementations in privacy, legal, and security disciplines
  • Curating documents, resources, and examples of thoughtful privacy, security, legal, and multi-jurisdictional sectors
  • Developing an enhanced system review framework inclusive of privacy safeguards inclusive of social service, health and workforce considerations
  • Leveraging partnerships across existing technical assistance offerings to curate resources, training, and best practices applicable to multi-agency data integration efforts

WestEd will host a webinar to provide more information about DISC on January 26 at 10:00 a.m. (Pacific Time) / 1:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). Register today.

Visit the DISC website to learn more.