Skip to main content



User Support

Special Data Requests (SDRs)

Table of Contents

I. Background

The National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) seeks to increase the utilization of its holdings and to find new ways to support data users, including by facilitating secondary analysis of its maintained datasets. As part of this aim, its task is to provide ad hoc analyses of selected NDACAN datasets for the Children’s Bureau (CB) and other Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACYF) staff, as well as other data requestors. This is especially important for data users who may not be able to manipulate whole datasets.

In an effort to ensure uniformity in how special data requests are received, reviewed, and processed, NDACAN has developed the following standardized policies and procedures for all its ad hoc analyses.

II. Exclusion Criteria

NDACAN will automatically reject any special data request that could threaten data confidentiality or that is overly complex and would require an inordinate amount of staff time.

This includes, but is not limited to, the following exclusion criteria:

  • No small counts (i.e., fields less than 100)
  • No small counties (i.e., counties less than 1,000)
  • No information on the workforce (e.g., caseworker ID number, supervisor ID number, etc.)
  • No data elements that are unavailable for release to the public (e.g., date of birth, perpetrator ID number, etc.)
  • Nothing more than a simple cross-tab (e.g., first foster care placement by race/ethnicity by state, etc.)

NDACAN will work with data requestors to formulate new special data requests following their rejection based upon the exclusion criteria. Alternatively, data requestors may choose to order whole dataset(s) through NDACAN’s website, following the dataset-specific instructions provided online.

III. General Special Data Request (SDR) Process

As outlined below and illustrated in the CB data special data request flow chart (Appendix A), NDACAN will follow all steps in the five-phase process for special data requests that involve CB data. This includes a vast majority of NDACAN’s current datasets, such as: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), and National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS).

Special data requests for non-CB data would not require review by the CB/NDACAN Contracting Officer Representative (COR) and ACYF’s Office of Data, Analysis, Research and Evaluation (ODARE), as illustrated in the non-CB data special data request flow chart (Appendix B). In other words, special data request for non-CB data would skip steps involving the CB/NDACAN COR and ODARE. In those instances, the CORs/Program Administrators for those datasets would be consulted before any special data requests were approved.

While NDACAN does not currently archive many datasets that do not involve CB data, this could change in the future, especially as NDACAN archives more historical data. There are also current examples of NDACAN’s datasets that involve CB data, but that data may be sufficiently dated to bypass the more formal request process, such as: Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) and Longitudinal Pathways to Resilience in Maltreated Children. NDACAN will work with the CB/NDACAN Contracting Officer Representative (COR) on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility for the non-CB data special data request process illustrated in Appendix B.

The general process for special data requests includes the following five phases:

Phase 1: Initial Request

  • The data requestor submits a special request for data to NDACAN’s email (NDACAN@cornell.edu).
  • NDACAN receives the initial data request and logs it into Freshdesk for tracking and reporting purposes.
  • NDACAN conducts an initial screening of the data request within 3 business day using its exclusion criteria (Section II).
    • IF the request does not pass NDACAN’s initial screening and meet the requirements of a special data request, NDACAN notifies the data requestor of the initial rejection, and if necessary, helps the data requestor formulate another data request.
      • The data requestor is notified of initial rejection and is informed of the option to submit another data request (starting Phase 1 again).
    • IF the request passes NDACAN’s initial screening and meets the requirements of a special data request, NDACAN sends the request to the CB/NDACAN COR for their initial review.
        • IF the CB/NDACAN COR rejects the initial data request, the CB/NDACAN COR notifies NDACAN of the rejection.
          • NDACAN notifies the data requestor of the initial rejection, and if necessary, helps the data requestor formulate another data request.
          • The data requestor is notified of initial rejection and is informed of the option to submit another data request (starting Phase 1 again).
        • IF the CB/NDACAN COR approves the initial data request, the CB/NDACAN COR sends the request to ODARE for their review.
          • IF ODARE determines that there is an existing table or figure that fulfills the initial data request, ODARE sends that existing table or figure to the CB/NDACAN COR.
            • The CB/NDACAN COR forwards the existing table or figure to NDACAN.
            • NDACAN forwards the existing table or figure to the data requestor.
            • The data requestor receives the existing table or figure (continuing to Phase 5).
          • IF ODARE determines that there is no existing table or figure that fulfills the initial data request, ODARE informs the CB/NDACAN COR.
            • The CB/NDACAN COR notifies NDACAN that no table or figure exists, the special data request is approved, and NDACAN can begin the special data request form process.
            • NDACAN notifies the data requestor that the data request has been approved and sends the data requestor the special data request form (Appendix C) to complete. This form is used for all special data requests, involving CB and non-CB data.
            • The data requestor receives the special data request form to complete (continuing to Phase 2).

Phase 2: Special Data Request Form

  • The data requestor submits/resubmits a completed special data request form.
  • NDACAN saves a copy of the completed special data request form for tracking and reporting purposes and verifies the completed form.
    • IF NDACAN determines that there are problems with the completed special data request form, NDACAN notifies the data requestor of any problems, and if necessary, helps the data requestor resubmit the form.
      • The data requestor is notified of any problems with the completed special data request form and is informed of the option to resubmit the form (starting Phase 2 again).
    • IF NDACAN determines that there are no problems with the completed special data request form, NDACAN notifies the CB/NDACAN COR that a completed form was received and work has begun to fill the special data request.
      • The CB/NDACAN COR receives notification from NDACAN that a completed special data request form was received and work has begun to fill the special data request (continuing to Phase 3).

Phase 3: Produce Material

  • NDACAN works to fulfill the data request based on the verified special data request form, including producing the following material: 1) one or more tables or figures with explanatory footnotes; and 2) a descriptive memo detailing the results of the data request.
  • NDACAN sends the material to the CB/NDACAN COR for their initial review.
  • The CB/NDACAN COR conducts an initial review of the material and sends it to ODARE for an additional review.
  • ODARE receives the material and conducts an additional review, including: 1) comparing output to existing outputs; 2) verifying that language used to describe the data/analyses is consistent and correct; and 3) in some circumstances, verifying the analyses.
  • ODARE sends feedback to the CB/NDACAN COR (continuing to Phase 4).

Phase 4: Final Review

  • The CB/NDACAN COR receives feedback from ODARE and conducts a final review of the material for approval.
    • IF the CB/NDACAN COR does not approve the material, the CB/NDACAN COR notifies NDACAN that revisions to the material are needed.
      • NDACAN is notified of needed revisions to the material and begins the revision process (starting Phase 3 again).
    • IF the CB/NDACAN COR approves the material, the CB/NDACAN COR notifies NDACAN of approval to distribute the material reviewed by the CB/NDACAN COR and ODARE to the data requestor.
      • NDACAN is notified of approval to distribute the material reviewed by the CB/NDACAN COR and ODARE, and sends it to the data requestor.
      • The data requestor receives the material (continuing to Phase 5).

Phase 5: Follow-Up

  • The data requestor reviews the materials sent by NDACAN.
    • IF the data requestor has no questions about the material provided, NDACAN has filled the special data request and no more contact is needed.
    • IF the data requestor has a question about the material provided, NDACAN reviews the question and saves a copy of it for tracking and reporting purposes.
      • IF NDACAN determines that the question can be easily answered (and is not, in fact, a new data request), NDACAN responds to the question, consulting with the CB/NDACAN COR and ODARE as needed.
        • The data requestor receives an answer to their question from NDACAN and is informed of the option to submit additional question (starting Phase 5 again); otherwise NDACAN has filled the special data request and no more contact is needed.
      • IF NDACAN determines that the question cannot be easily answered (and is, in fact, a new data request), NDACAN notifies the data requestor that the question would count as a new data request.
        • The data requestor receives notice from NDACAN to submit a new data request (returning to Phase 1).

IV. Tracking and Reporting of Special Data Requests (SDRs)

NDACAN will log all special data requests into Freshdesk for tracking and reporting purposes. Additionally, all communication between the requestor and NDACAN will be archived. Trends will be reported to the CB/NDACAN COR in monthly meetings, monthly reports, and annual reports, such as: the number of special data requests received, the number of special data requests accepted and rejected, the number of special data request forms submitted and resubmitted, the number of tables or figures requested and distributed, etc. NDACAN will also report any lessons learned during the process based on requestors’ feedback.

These trends and lessons learned will help inform NDACAN’s activities going forward to provide ad hoc analyses of its datasets and to promote their use within the research community, including but not limited to: updated policies and procedures, future trainings, workshops, and webinars, ongoing technical assistance, and communications and marketing.

V. Appendices

  • Appendix A. CB Data Special Data Request (SDR) Flow Chart (click to enlarge)

    CB Data Special Data Request (SDR) Flow Chart

  • Appendix B. Non-CB Data Special Data Request (SDR) Flow Chart (click to enlarge)

    Non CB Data Special Data Request (SDR) Flow Chart

  • Appendix C. Universal Special Data Request (SDR) Form

    Special Data Request Form (Word)

     

Page Updated: 2019-11-18