This chapter discusses the data elements, values, and definitions of the Agency Component of the NAMRS Pilot. This chapter also discusses findings from the pilot test for the Agency Component and the recommendations for changes to this component in the future NAMRS.
The Agency Component
The NAMRS Pilot Agency Component collected background information on state policies and practices to provide contextual information for the Case Component and Key Indicators Component. The Agency Component also collected information on the agency and contacts who submitted the data. (See Appendix B for detail on each of the data elements.) This chapter discusses the following topics:
- The Agency Component
- Findings from the Agency Component
- Level of Effort to Report
Contextual data included the following nine topics:
- Data sources (APS agency only or additional agencies).
- Staffing (budgeted versus filled positions).
- Acceptance of reports (centralized or local intake).
- Report counts (not accepted, resolved through Information and Referral (I&R)/Information and Referral Assistance (I&RA), and accepted reports).
- Standards of evidence for substantiation of investigations.
- Time to complete an investigation.
- Types of maltreatment addressed by the state.
- Use of standardized assessment tools.
- Service gaps.
Findings from the Agency Component
Piloting of the Agency Component was extremely useful. The states were able to complete nearly all of the data elements; Appendix D includes information on the number of states that were able to report on each data element. The pilot test revealed several findings, which resulted in recommendations of adjustments to the future NAMRS Agency Component specifications. The findings and the recommended actions are listed below. Most of the recommended changes to the Agency Component have been accepted by ACL as of the date of this report. Appendix E, Proposed NAMRS Data Specifications, reflects the accepted recommendations.
Finding 1. The pilot found that staffing information on budgeted positions is not available at the state level.
Action: The future NAMRS Agency Component will simplify the requested data to ask only for the number of filled investigation Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) (including hotline personnel), and the number of filled supervisory FTEs.
Finding 2. The Pilot Agency Component grouped reports into three categories: (1) screened out and not accepted; (2) resolved through I&R; and (3) accepted for investigation. While all states reported on those accepted for an investigation, states interpreted the other two categories in different and inconsistent ways.
Action: The NAMRS Agency Component will only ask for the number of reports that were not accepted and the number that were resolved through I&R or I&RA. The Key Indicators Component and the Case Component will address the number of accepted reports.
Finding 3. The Pilot Agency Component did not clearly specify whether the statistic requested about the time required to complete an investigation referred to the state standard or a computed average. Many states did not have data on the actual time it took to complete a case.
Action: Since the NAMRS Case Component will be able to compute time to completion for those states that submit the Case Component, and since states were able to provide their state standard, if any, the NAMRS Agency Component will only ask for data on the standard set by policy or practice.
Finding 4. States were inconsistent in discussing the characteristics of the population served by their programs.
Action: The NAMRS Agency Component will add a question that asks specifically about the characteristics of population served. This will include a question about the settings investigated by APS, given that some state agencies do not investigate reports of maltreatment alleged to have taken place in facilities.
Finding 5. States were unclear in discussing whether they collect data on perpetrators.
Action: The NAMRS Agency Component will include a specific question on the extent to which person-specific data on perpetrators is collected.
Finding 6. Many states could not provide data on service gaps.
Action: This finding will not result in a change to the Agency Component. Information on service gaps is of critical interest and concern to the field. The data element will be retained for encouraging states to assess the extent of their services gaps and collecting data in the future.
Finding 7. The recently issued Draft Voluntary Consensus Guidelines for State APS Systems12 recommends focusing on response time.
Action: The NAMRS Agency Component will include a question concerning policies about responding to calls concerning possible adult maltreatment.
Level of Effort to Report
The average level of effort among reporting pilot states was 18 hours. Once a state completes the Agency Component initially, it is unlikely to require such an investment of time in subsequent submissions. Thus if the average is 18 hours the first year, one can suggest that the level of effort would be on average 10 hours in subsequent years to allow state personnel to review their earlier submission and modify it as necessary.