Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Kim Spurzem

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development

Abstract

Montana communities are faced with complex social issues. It is imperative that data and technology be leveraged to understand where these issues stem from, how they connect, and possible solutions. Due to its low population density, Montana is a data desert. There is scarce data collected at the local level and only a small portion of the data collected is made publicly available. This often leaves social workers and other service providers without digestible and easily accessible data to use in their decision-making processes, grant proposals, and practices. In response to this, myself and a small team of social workers at the Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development collected data on over a hundred community wellness indicators and used data visualization software to create a publicly accessible data portal now available on the Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development’s website. The Montana Data Dashboard provides policy-makers, service providers, and the everyday Montanan with information that is critical to understanding the assets and challenges present in their communities. Data is currently available on topics including health, economics, education, safety, families, and more. Short video tutorials are also available to quickly refresh busy minds on the concepts necessary to gain value from the data presented. Technology and data can be catalysts for effective community change if social workers incorporate the insights and capabilities offered into their agencies and daily practices. The Montana Data Dashboard is a stepping stone towards creating data-driven and technology-fueled social work practices in Montana.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 17th, 10:20 AM Apr 17th, 10:40 AM

Using Data and Research in Social Work as Catalysts for Effective Community Change

UC 326

Montana communities are faced with complex social issues. It is imperative that data and technology be leveraged to understand where these issues stem from, how they connect, and possible solutions. Due to its low population density, Montana is a data desert. There is scarce data collected at the local level and only a small portion of the data collected is made publicly available. This often leaves social workers and other service providers without digestible and easily accessible data to use in their decision-making processes, grant proposals, and practices. In response to this, myself and a small team of social workers at the Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development collected data on over a hundred community wellness indicators and used data visualization software to create a publicly accessible data portal now available on the Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development’s website. The Montana Data Dashboard provides policy-makers, service providers, and the everyday Montanan with information that is critical to understanding the assets and challenges present in their communities. Data is currently available on topics including health, economics, education, safety, families, and more. Short video tutorials are also available to quickly refresh busy minds on the concepts necessary to gain value from the data presented. Technology and data can be catalysts for effective community change if social workers incorporate the insights and capabilities offered into their agencies and daily practices. The Montana Data Dashboard is a stepping stone towards creating data-driven and technology-fueled social work practices in Montana.