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Linking Child Welfare and Medicaid Data: Lessons Learned from Two States

Publication Date
Tami L. Mark, Melissa Dolan, Benjamin Allaire, Christina Bradley
(RTI International)

This report provides information to state, tribal, and local child welfare and behavioral health agencies that are interested in linking their Medicaid and child welfare data. It is based on information gathered during the implementation of the project, Child and Caregiver Outcomes Using Linked Data, whose goal was to provide technical assistance to two states – Florida and Kentucky – in linking the Medicaid administrative claims of children and their caregivers with case-level data from the child welfare system and to combine the state-specific datasets into a multi-state, deidentified dataset for secondary data analysis by researchers. The report contains key lessons learned from each stage of the project related to (1) state recruitment and short-term and long-term sustainability of the linkage project; (2) data availability, consistency, and quality; (3) state and federal regulations related to data linkage and sharing; and (4) linkage methodologies.