National Information Exchange Model


The National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) may be used by child welfare agencies and other groups (such as other human service agencies, courts, schools, and health providers) to help exchange information to support collaboration, coordinate service delivery, and improve outcomes for children and families.

NIEM is a program-driven, standards-based, flexible approach to exchanging information. NIEM products are available free of charge.

NIEM is program-driven. Programs identify the needs and goals of an information exchange and decide what information to share. For example: child welfare agencies may use NIEM to provide courts with intake reports and case plans for court hearings; educational agencies may help child welfare agencies monitor foster care children by providing information on attendance, student progress and individualized education plans; health providers may help child welfare agencies build health passports by providing immunization records and information on chronic health conditions; child welfare agencies may provide child support with demographic information needed to establish child support cases; and human service agencies may exchange client contact information such as addresses and phone numbers.

NIEM is standards-based. NIEM maintains a continually growing collection of standardized documentation, complete data exchanges, and individual data elements developed by programs to meet data exchange needs. These and other NIEM tools may be browsed in order for agencies to identify the products meeting their needs.

NIEM is flexible. Child welfare and other agencies decide how to best use NIEM’s standardized products.  This allows agencies to save time and money by reusing existing, validated, standardized NIEM products, modifying existing products, or improving NIEM by developing and sharing new products. For example:

  • a complete set of NIEM documentation (called Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD)) may be reused in its entirety;
  • an IEPD may be modified to meet an agency’s needs;
  • individual NIEM data elements may be used to build a new IEPD; or
  • agencies may create new NIEM data elements for a new or existing IEPD.

Child Welfare NIEM Data Exchanges


The Children’s Bureau published an IEPD in support of National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD) reporting. This IEPD contains all data elements required for the NYTD report. The IEPD is found on ACF’s Completed IEPD page. Note: This IEPD does not replace the required NYTD reporting requirements but is a supplemental tool using this data for exchanges.

The Children’s Bureau will list new child welfare IEPDs here as they are developed. Please contact us with information about IEPDs you would like to recommend for this page. Recommended IEPDs must conform to NIEM requirements.

NIEM Resources

Visit to learn more about NIEM products, tools and training.  Certain NIEM communities (also called Domains) have developed IEPDs that could be reused or modified to support child welfare.

The Human Services Domain includes representatives from ACF, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Nutritional Services/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program, as well as related state and local programs. Domain-developed IEPDs and other information is found on the ACF Interoperability site – click on “Interoperability Initiative Resources” and scroll down to the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) heading.

Last Reviewed: July 28, 2017