Kids’ Well-being Indicators Clearinghouse (KWIC)

In 2003, the Council launched KWIC, an interactive website that advances the NYS Touchstones/KIDS COUNT data dissemination process by expanding access to New York State children's health, education and well-being data; providing more current data; expanding the number of indicators presented; providing access to other data resources; allowing users to chart, graph and map data; and giving users the ability to tailor data to fit their needs. KWIC (http://www.nyskwic.org), a one-stop data warehouse with data from numerous Council member agencies.

KWIC has been redesigned with enhanced features and functionality. Please take a few minutes to explore this user-friendly, data-rich resource.

Check out our NEW COMMUNITY ASSET MAPPING TOOL!

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Background

In May 1997, the Executive Director of the Council on Children and Families and the 13 Commissioners of the Council’s member agencies approved a set of goals, objectives, and measures known as New York State Touchstones. The vision that underlies this effort is that all children, youth and families in New York State will be healthy and have the knowledge, skills and resources to succeed in a dynamic society. The Touchstones framework identifies indicators to help measure progress towards meeting that vision. Touchstones uses the following six life areas for organization and presentation of the indicators: Economic Security; Physical and Emotional Health; Education; Citizenship; Civic Engagement; and Family.

At about the same time Touchstones was approved, the Annie E. Casey Foundation began providing funds to the Council to produce a Kids Count Data Book for New York State. The product of these combined efforts is the New York State Touchstones/Kids Count Data Book. The Council developed an ACCESS database to sore and manipulate the data. The NYS Touchstones/Kids Count Data Book is the first effort to incorporate and disseminate a set of child well-being indicators that encompass New York State’s health, education and human service systems. The purpose of the data book is to provide individuals and organizations with a compilation of indicators that could help profile their counties and the State in a way that had not previously been possible. Prior to the data book, individuals had to seek data from each separate state agency and compile it themselves-a time-consuming and inefficient process for those who needed data, as well as for the suppliers of that data.

While the data book is a useful tool, the Council recognized an automated version of the data book would improve the type and amount of data available to users and decrease the amount of time users waited to receive the information that was necessary for planning and policy purposes. As a result, CCF, in conjunction with the Center for Technology in Government (CTG) and the Cornell University College of Human Ecology sought and was awarded a federal grant from the Department  of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop the Kids’ Well-Being Indicators Clearinghouse (KWIC) prototype. The KWIC prototype is a data-rich, web-based tool that allows users to gather and use indicator data to assess community needs, design and improve programs, and focus on outcomes.

This prototype has been developed and pilot-tested with substantial gains being made; however, the prototype did not fully meet the requirements of users or web and data managers. Through the benefit of focus groups and CTG assistance, a number of necessary steps were identified to recreate a KWIC website that will be more useful to the public and easier to navigate, as well as streamline the process of updating data.

In 2002, the Council was awarded funding from the Office for Technology's (OFT) Entrepreneurial Fund to create the KWIC website. The OFT Entrepreneurial Fund provides funding for projects that promote the development of new technologies having multi-agency or statewide impact or provide innovative improvements or enhancements to existing multi-agency systems. In April 2002, the Council awarded the KWIC web development contract to Cogent Technologies, and in December 2003, the Kids' Well-being Indicators Clearinghouse, www.nyskwic.org, was launched .

Purpose

The Kids’ Well-being Indicators Clearinghouse (KWIC) is a Council initiative aiming to advance the use of children’s health, education and well-being indicators as a tool for policy development, planning, and accountability.

KWIC’s goal is to promote efforts to gather, plot and monitor children's health, education and well-being indicator data as a means to improve outcomes for New York State’s children and families.

Benefits

KWIC provides timely access to New York State Touchstones KIDS COUNT data through an interactive, publicly accessible website. As a result, users have an enhanced tool to gather and use indicator data to assess needs, design and improve programs, and sharpen their focus on outcomes. With growing recognition of the superiority and long term efficiency of the Internet for publishing data, this web-based system impacts current practices at a number of levels by:

Expanding Access: A wider range of individuals has access to KWIC data, and more individuals have the opportunity to become aware of the existence and availability of New York State children’s health, education and well-being data.

Providing More Current Data: Compared to the costly and time-consuming paper publication process, KWIC allows the Council to update and distribute data as soon as it becomes available at a minimal cost.

Expanding the Number of Indicators: KWIC gives the Council the flexibility to increase the type and number of indicators in a more timely fashion.

Providing Access to Other Resources: Organizations often require information beyond what is available through the data book publications and KWIC. KWIC provides links to other valuable data sources and expands the tools available to them.

Providing Charting, Graphing and Mapping Capabilities: Users have the ability to display data in numerous formats, i.e., tables, bar graphs and line charts, maps, as well as tailor comparisons between New York State, New York City, Rest of State and county data.

Providing Data Tailoring Capabilities: Because KWIC is interactive, users have the ability to select the data they want to use. KWIC users have the ability to access trend and specific data as well as determine the displayed format, i.e., tables or charts. To accomplish this using only data books, a user would have to sift through multiple publications and manually display the data.

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