A Blueprint for Diagnosing the Readiness of Human Service Contracts Data for Spatial Access Analysis

16 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2021

See all articles by Julia Koschinsky

Julia Koschinsky

University of Chicago, Center for Spatial Data Science

Nicole P. Marwell

University of Chicago - Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice

Raed Mansour

City of Chicago - Department of Public Health

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 22, 2021

Abstract

Each year, government spends more than a trillion dollars in combined federal, state, and
local funds to support hundreds of thousands of local service providers in a highly decentralized
system of human service provision in the U.S. – making it hard to gain a bigger picture
perspective on whether these combined funds go to where needs are concentrated. In light of the
promise of data-driven decision making and government open data, this article provides a
blueprint to assess how ready open administrative data are for gaining such a perspective. As the
case example, we analyze 2017 open financial contracts data for human services funded by
Chicago, Cook County and Illinois to identify spatial access gaps to these services (with funding
amounts). We conclude that these data are not yet ready for such an analysis and outline 5 major
data gaps, including a lack of data on service site locations and fiduciaries. What we find is that
the institutional fragmentation of human services contracting leads to a multitude of disparate
data sources, unstandardized data definitions and non-systematic coverage of key information on
human services that need to be addressed in order to gain a perspective of where funding goes
across departments and jurisdictions. We outline what data elements are still needed to close the
identified gaps and point to a spatial access prototype we developed for the Chicago Department
of Public Health (CDPH) for new data it collected to address several of these gaps.

Keywords: health and human services, open data, administrative contracts data, data challenges, spatial access

Suggested Citation

Koschinsky, Julia and Marwell, Nicole P. and Mansour, Raed, A Blueprint for Diagnosing the Readiness of Human Service Contracts Data for Spatial Access Analysis (April 22, 2021). Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation Research Paper No. 25, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3832279 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3832279

Julia Koschinsky (Contact Author)

University of Chicago, Center for Spatial Data Science ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
60637 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://spatial.uchicago.edu

Nicole P. Marwell

University of Chicago - Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice ( email )

United States

Raed Mansour

City of Chicago - Department of Public Health ( email )

333 S. State Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

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