State, local, and tribal agencies responsible for the health and well-being of youth face daily challenges to improve their information-sharing capabilities, reduce replication of data and services, and close service gaps. Furthermore, many agencies do not haveand urgently needaccess to accurate and timely information to assist in determining appropriate supervision, services, and sanctions for youth. Youth-serving agencies also face the complex tasks of addressing confidentiality issues and developing strategies for collaboration.
OJJDP was the first agency to sponsor a national effort to improve information sharing among agencies involved with youth. Since 2000, OJJDP has supported the National Juvenile Information Sharing (JIS) Initiative, a training and technical assistance project that brings together leaders in juvenile justice, youth services, and the community to effectively coordinate multiple services and to foster informed decisionmaking regarding juveniles, whether in the justice, education, health, or welfare contexts.
Under the direction of the Center for Network Development (CND), the JIS initiative has created a framework for information sharing that includes guidelines for successful interagency partnerships and protocols that comply with state and federal privacy and confidentiality requirements and with national standards for information exchanges between agencies. To learn more about the guidelines, read OJJDP's publication, Guidelines for Juvenile Information Sharing.
The initiative also has developed a JIS data model, a framework that defines data elements and the structures and relationships between them. Using precise terms and rules, the model is designed to support information-exchange standards and processes that help ensure the most effective sharing of critical information about youth across multiple agencies. The model fully conforms with the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), developed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to guide jurisdictions in the exchange of information.
The Missouri Juvenile Justice Information System and the Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator provided initial feedback on the data model. The JIS guidelines and an updated version of the data model are currently being piloted and tested in two sites in Colorado: the Jefferson County Juvenile Assessment Center, a local collaborative of youth-serving agencies, and the Colorado Children Youth Information Sharing Initiative, a statewide collaborative representing schools, courts, human services and public health agencies, law enforcement, and families and youth. Both pilot sites have worked closely with CND to develop jurisdictional policies and procedures for implementation while providing valuable insight into the forthcoming revisions of the JIS guidelines and information exchanges using the JIS data model.
OJJDP will release a final evaluation of the pilot projects and updated versions of the JIS guidelines and data model in the fall of 2010. The guidelines have been adopted by jurisdictions in 16 states as the basis for developing JIS plans, interagency agreements, and information-sharing legislation. The number of states adopting guidelines will soon expand, as additional states have requested assistance in assessing their readiness to initiate JIS partnerships, conducting confidentiality and privacy assessments, and developing strategies for implementing the JIS data model.
The JIS Web site serves as a national clearinghouse for information on training and technical assistance opportunities, juvenile information-sharing project updates, profiles of promising information-sharing efforts, and advances in technology.
In addition, OJJDP sponsors an ongoing JIS Webinar series that provides free online training events for juvenile justice and other youth-serving professionals on numerous topics, including juvenile records laws and interagency collaboration; the JIS data model; Extensible Markup Language, which determines the rules and terms for encoding documents electronically for the purpose of information sharing and data exchange; and an introduction to NIEM.