Department of Human Services (DHS), Allegheny County, PA

Description: Allegheny County’s Department of Human Services (DHS) launched its data warehouse in 1999 with initial start-up funds from the Human Services Integration Fund (HSIF), a fund created by a coalition of local foundations to support DHS in a wide variety of integration and innovation activities. DHS’s data warehouse serves as a central repository of social services data from almost 30 sources.  Integration of these data supports case-level service coordination, evaluation, quality improvement and decision-making related to policy, program planning and system design.


IDS Projects to Inform Policy

Improving Educational and Well-Being Outcomes: School–DHS Data Sharing in Allegheny County

Summary:  This report provides an update on the Department of Human Services’ data-sharing partnerships with local school districts and related entities; there are nowhttp://o http://alleghenycounty.us/WorkArea/linkit.aspx?LinkIdentifier=id&ItemID=2147496894 18 agreements that have provided the basis for networking, collaboration and programs resulting in improved outcomes for human service-involved public school students.

Link to Project Reports:  Improving Educational and Well-Being Outcomes: School–DHS Data Sharing in Allegheny County  (Published August 2015)


Improving Educational and Well Being Outcomes: School-DHS Data Sharing in Allegheny County, 2012 Update

Summary: In this update on the data sharing agreements between DHS and local school districts, writer Jeffery Fraser provides an overview on progress since the initial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with the Pittsburgh Public Schools and implemented in 2010. Achievements as of the end of 2012 include signing an updated and expanded MOU with the Pittsburgh Public Schools as well as agreements with an additional three school districts (Clairton, Woodland Hills and Elizabeth Forward), implementation of an after-school program and a truancy prevention pilot program, use of the shared data to stabilize the educational experiences of children in the child welfare system, convening of community stakeholders around issues concerning the children shared by the two systems, and improved relationships between DHS, the various school districts and other systems involved with these youth.

Link to Project Reports:

  • Improving Educational and Well Being Outcomes: School-DHS Data Sharing in Allegheny County, 2012 Update  (Published August 2013)
  • Improving Educational and Well-being Outcomes: The Pittsburgh Public Schools and Allegheny County Department of Human Services Data-Sharing Agreement (Published July 2012)
    • Summary:  The data-sharing agreement between the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Department of Human Services, designed to make it possible to integrate and share data on students involved in human services and other youth-serving systems, is in its second year. The agreement has resulted in a number of achievements: 1) through participation in the ACHIEVE afterschool program, middle school students are demonstrating progress towards meeting the criteria for the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program; 2) DHS has received a number of federal and foundation grants, designed to improve a variety of educational outcomes for youth, such as reduced truancy and increased permanency; and 3) a similar agreement was recently implemented with the Clairton City School District and negotiations are underway for partnerships with other school districts.This report provides an overview of the data-sharing agreement and the outcomes of the partnership.
  • Improving Educational and Well-being Outcomes, June 2011 Update
    • Summary: Writer Jeffrey Fraser provides an update on the progress made during the first year of the historic data-sharing agreement between DHS and Pittsburgh Public Schools. The report outlines the partnership’s preliminary analysis, the Phase One Intervention Initiative, the uses of integrated data and presentations to the community.

Data Brief: Sharing Data to Support Homeless Students in Allegheny County

Summary:  Because schools districts and human service systems define homelessness differently (as mandated by their respective regulatory and funding entities), a gap exists between those identified as homeless by the two systems and – as a result – their eligibility for services. This data brief addresses the local impact of the identification gap and how it is being addressed through a number of partnerships and collaborative efforts.

Link to Project Reports:  Data Brief: Sharing Data to Support Homeless Students in Allegheny County  (Published April, 2015)


Data Brief: Addressing School Absenteeism

Summary:  This data brief describes community-wide strategies to prevent and reduce chronic school absenteeism, made possible by data-sharing agreements between DHS and local school districts.

Link to Project Reports:  Data Brief: Addressing School Absenteeism  (Published October 2014 )


DataBrief: School Attendance and Academic Achievement in the Pittsburgh Public Schools

Summary:  Attendance is an important marker for how well students will do in school; chronic absenteeism is a predictor of poor school performance and, ultimately, school failure and dropout. DHS conducted an assessment of attendance by Pittsburgh Public School students during the 2011-12 school year, including the impact of involvement in the human service system. This two-page data brief summarizes the findings.

Link to Project Reports: DataBrief: School Attendance and Academic Achievement in the Pittsburgh Public Schools  (Published June 2013)


Disparities in Achievement: Human Services Involvement of Children in Pittsburgh Public Schools

Summary:  A data sharing agreement between the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) has created the opportunity to measure the educational impact of human services involvement by PPS students. This report fully details the results of this analysis and highlights the achievement disparities for those students involved in human service programs.

Based on these findings, an intervention has been designed to improve educational outcomes for a subset of the identified group. This intervention will be described in a future report.

Link to Project Reports: Disparities in Achievement: Human Services Involvement of Children in Pittsburgh Public Schools (Published June 2011)


Framework for Collaboration: The Memorandum of Understanding between Allegheny County DHS and Pittsburgh Public Schools

Summary:  In this report, writer Jeffrey Fraser documents the process that led to a data-sharing agreement between DHS and Pittsburgh Public Schools. The organizations collaborated to integrate their data and are using it to inform strategies to improve educational and child well-being outcomes.

Link to Project Reports: Framework for Collaboration: The Memorandum of Understanding between Allegheny County DHS and Pittsburgh Public Schools  (Published 2011)


Academic Outcomes: The Impact of Human Services Involvement on Academic Achievement

Summary: A 2009 groundbreaking data-sharing agreement between DHS and the Pittsburgh Public School district provided the opportunity to analyze human service involvement by students and the impact of this involvement on academic achievement. The analysis showed that more than half of all students in the district have been involved in the human services system at some point in their lives, and, as a group, their academic performance is well below that of their uninvolved peers. The results of this and other analyses have informed the development of a variety of strategies designed to improve academic outcomes for these students. DHS has published a number of reports about these analyses, interventions and outcomes.

Link to Project Reports:

Media Coverage:


AISP Network Site IDS Case Study: Allegheny County, PA

Allegheny County’s Data Warehouse: Leveraging Data to Enhance Human Service Programs and Policies


Multi-site Research Project

Educational Well-being of Children in Assisted Housing Programs