It’s said that less than one half of one percent of all the world’s data is ever analyzed and used. Imagine the potential. Beau Necco did, and in 2012, began taking steps to ensure his company’s data was not only accurate but being collected in a sustainable, meaningful way.
“For far too long, we’ve been playing in what feels like the most expensive game of basketball in the world, day after day, with no scoreboard,” says Beau, Founder and CEO of Necco, a foster care, adoption and counseling company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Many companies that do this work have good intentions but have no way to truly measure whether their interventions are effective.”
While an increasing number of child welfare providers are collecting data, most do not process or apply it in a way that can be used to improve outcomes of the children placed in their care. It requires capturing accurate data over time, and the ability to draw meaningful insights from it.
According to Necco, less than 50 percent of the agencies providing care have an electronic health record, or EHR, and most of those that do just use them for billing purposes. Missing mental health information from patients’ EHRs further complicate the issue.
“It’s hard to imagine that we as a nation spend so much money on such precious cargo with little to no accountability, but we do. For over 100 years, we didn’t know what to do with these kids,” said Beau. “Now we do, and we have the data to make better decisions.”
In 2012, Beau and his team convinced Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago – one of the most respected child welfare research institutes in the world – to validate Necco’s data and convert it into research evidence.
Necco collects data on everything:
- number of children in care
- number of disruptions
- the reason for disruptions
- treatment plans
- progress reports
As a result, measurement and accountability now drive Necco’s decisions prior to intake and continue for two years after children leave its care. Today, more than 90 percent of the foster children in Necco’s care experience one move or less until permanency, resulting in less trauma for the child and less cost to the taxpayer.
In a summary report outlining its findings, Chapin Hall wrote, “Necco has taken a number of critical steps to become better at what they do–improving outcomes for children, youth and families. Their efforts…have resulted in a company that has prioritized both the acquisition of knowledge as well as its incorporation into business and program decisions.”
Last year, Chapin Hall shared its Necco research at The International Society of Child Indicators Conference at McGill University in Montreal, a platform for sharing advances in child and adolescent well-being. Necco team members who attended were pleased to see such progress from organizations all over the world.
“Every time a child has to change homes, it causes additional trauma. Our data helps us match a child with the right home the first time,” said Beau. “Accountability, transparency and proven results. That’s the future.”
Let Necco show you how simple it can be to make a sustainable impact on a child’s life. Consider fostering or adopting a child today.