Supporting Data Systems Improvement in Tribal Home Visiting: Capacity Built and Lessons Learned

Publication Date: February 19, 2021
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  • Pages: 15
  • Published: 2021


For tribal nations, effective data systems are critical to report progress to funders and support governance and sovereignty. As demonstrated through the Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (the Tribal Home Visiting Program), federal agencies can provide American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) programs with innovative technical assistance (TA) and resources to strengthen data systems in furtherance of indigenous data sovereignty. To explain how the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has supported Tribal Home Visiting grantees in addressing data system challenges, this brief presents the following:

  • An overview of data system challenges and needs for tribal programs
  • A summary of data system TA and resources provided to Tribal Home Visiting grantees
  • Case studies of the ways TA support improved data system capacity
  • Recommendations for providing data system TA unique to tribal programs


This brief describes the capacity-building approach of ACF, which helps Tribal Home Visiting grantees strengthen their data systems through TA from the Tribal Home Visiting Evaluation Institute (TEI). It is intended for federal agencies that fund AI/AN social service programs.

Key Findings and Highlights

Tribal Home Visiting grantees experience the following data system challenges:

  • Misalignment of data entered in a system and data generated by reports
  • Inconsistent data entry processes
  • Communication challenges with vendors

Federal agencies should support tribes and tribal/urban Indian organizations in building capacities in the following areas:

  • Facilitate regular team discussions on the data system
  • Understand technical language to communicate with vendors
  • Document existing data entry processes
  • Understand the data system structure to improve data reporting

When supporting tribes and tribal/urban Indian organizations in data system improvement, federal agencies should:

  • Dedicate adequate time and TA support
  • Respect data sovereignty
  • Ensure TA providers understand the context of data and data systems for tribes and tribal organizations
  • Identify TA providers with strong technical and interpersonal skills
  • Support flexibility in TA offerings


Roberts, E., Iannone-Walker, M., Callis, A., Porter, R., Geary, E., & Park, C. (2021). Supporting data systems improvement in tribal home visiting: Capacity built and lessons learned (OPRE Report No. #2021-05). Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.