FAQ

I2D2 is a state-university partnership that integrates administrative data collected by public and private agencies to better understand needs and priorities for Iowa children and families. I2D2 is governed by strict data sharing and data access protocols that ensure data are securely used to inform Iowa priorities.

While agency partners have their own systems for administrative data collection and analysis for ongoing program maintenance, I2D2 is a unique place where cross-system data are brought together so we can inform shared decision-making. Another unique aspect is the governance approach that ensures the work is supporting stakeholder needs – this system was not built for academic research – it was built to utilize university expertise in data and analytics to address pressing social issues brought to the table by Iowa leaders. As such, I2D2 works closely with stakeholders throughout all projects to verify data needs, prioritize agency questions, and determine the most efficient ways to share findings that inform decision-making. 

I2D2 is entirely funded by grants and contracts. Individual projects that are approved by the I2D2 Data Stewardship Committee provide funding to support the data collection, integration, and communications efforts. Sometimes these projects are directed by state agencies using state or federal funds for program evaluation and improvement efforts, while other projects are funded by grants that are pursued in partnership between state agencies and university research partners.

Most data within I2D2 are protected data collected by public or private agencies for the purposes of program delivery – and therefore are not publicly available. These data are managed through legal agreements between ISU (the business agent of data contributing agencies) and data providers. These agreements address all federal and state laws regarding protection of privacy and confidentiality. I2D2 also collects and uses some publicly available data such as data from the Census Bureau.  All data are utilized in a way that the private information is protected and we restrict unnecessary access by integrating and anonymizing all data prior to any analytic project use. 

I2D2 uses multiple layers of secure technology to ensure only those required to see private information can see it, and only for time-limited approved uses. Our technology is compliant with FERPA, HIPPA and HIETECH and accredited at the Department of Defense Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide Impact Level 4 Authorization.  For data analysis, approved users may only access I2D2 data for approved projects using our secure servers with multifactor authentication. Users must have completed required privacy training and they are restricted to anonymized files that have been stripped of identifiers prior to use.

I2D2 utilizes a secure Data Transfer Platform to transmit data from partners following all approved legal agreements.  For protected data, each agency has their own data portal with user-defined roles including one-way data transfer and time-limited access for data sharing.  For public data (such as the Census or American Community Survey) we utilize bots developed to scrape data from websites for compilation. 

I2D2 includes legal agreements for data sharing from the Iowa Departments of Public Health, Education, Human Services, and Human Rights, as well as each of the Iowa Head Start grantees. Datasets currently include vital records (birth and death records); DAISEY home visiting records; Child Care Assistance records; public education Pk-12 enrollment, attendance, achievement, and special education records; and Head Start enrollment and attendance records.  

Our governance process was developed to ensure all data use is first and foremost in the service of state data-contributing agency priorities. The I2D2 Governing Board establishes priority areas that guide I2D2 work. Appointees of agencies serve on the Data Stewardship Committee which commissions and approves projects of interest. Throughout ongoing projects, a Community Advisory Group (including data and policy experts called to the table to share input) provides feedback and support before, during, and after analyses are completed. When analytic findings are available, they are presented to the Data Stewardship Committee and Advisory Groups for feedback and to generate plans for dissemination and “use” to inform program coordination and improvement across our systems.  

Early childhood stakeholders engaged with Early Childhood Iowa (ECI) are the primary drivers for I2D2 use – sharing their needs, priorities, and pressing questions through the network of state board and stakeholder alliance activities. When projects are vetted and approved through I2D2’s governance process, University partners primarily complete the analytics. Collaboratively, findings are then discussed and shared widely throughout our state and local systems in pursuit of shared decision-making to enhance collaborative services that support Iowa families.

I2D2 is a joint initiative with stakeholders across government agencies as well as the university. I2D2 directors, staff, and students are employees of ISU, but the use of the system is entirely governed in partnership with state agencies. In this sense, ISU/I2D2 staff are serving as business agents of these data partners, and must operate under their direction to ensure the mission and vision of I2D2 is fulfilled.

Feel free to reach out to our Leadership Team to learn more about how you can support the work of I2D2.  Other ways to support include but are not limited to: Advocacy for the Integrated Data System, outreach to possible data resources, connections to resources, etc.