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Elkhart County Institutions Share Data To Improve Child Wellbeing


Several Elkhart County institutions are pooling their data to improve child wellbeing and safety in the county.

The Elkhart County Child Dashboard will use data from local nonprofits, healthcare systems, schools and government agencies to track factors that could affect different aspects of child wellbeing. 


Rebecca Shetler Fast, director of Elkhart County’s youth mental health network, The Source, and the lead on the project, says that kind of cross-sector collaboration isn't common.


"Sharing data, there's always potential for that going awry," she said. "People are placing a lot of trust in a concept that will help our community, and that's just a pretty remarkable thing."


The dashbaord will track factors from graduation, eviction and unemployment rates to attendance at the local Boys and Girls’ Club and after-school programs. It will show whether those data are trending positively or negatively, allowing community leaders to make collaborative decisions about how to support the county’s youth.



“These are our most vulnerable citizens," Shetler Fast said. "By having data about this group, we can support, help, enhance or change things for them.”


The dashboard’s first prototype launched last week, and Shetler Fast said the full dashboard will be available to community partners in September. 


By September 2023, she said she hopes The Source can make the dashboard available to the general public online.


Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.


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