Program and Organizational Research

The Public Policy Data Group specializes in facilitating secure and anonymous integration and statistical analysis of individual-level data records within and between public-sector agencies (including private sector and non-profit sector clients and partners) for the purposes of policy analysis and program evaluation while ensuring adherence to all applicable federal and state privacy laws, policies and administrative requirements.




Virginia Longitudinal Data System Expansion – Linking to Workforce and Postsecondary
PI: Dr. Aaron Schroeder
Dates: 2010-2013
Award: $1,766,507
Sponsor: U.S. Department of Education

Working with the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV), the Virginia Community College System, and Virginia’s workforce agencies on a $17.5 million grant to establish a comprehensive, longitudinal P-20 data system, including: creation of an integrated K-12 student-teacher information system; creation of a longitudinal data linking and reporting system; development of a web-based portal to access education and workforce data; design of a data management and control system; and development of a secure mechanism for post-secondary institutions to receive high school transcripts in the form of electronic data.


Child HANDS:Building Child and Family Policy Research Data Capacity for the Commonwealth of Virginia: An Integrated Model
Co-PIs: Dr. Aaron Schroeder, Dr. Isabel Bradburn
Dates: 2008-2011
Award: $650,000
Sponsor: Administration for Children & Families (US Department of Health & Human Services)

Using a federated data approach to multi-agency data integration, the central aim of Project Child HANDS (Child Care Subsidy, Health and Early Education: Helping Analyze Needed Data Securely) is to build an integrated, web-based data system for Virginia childhood initiatives aimed at low-income families, to guide program evaluation and policy decisions at the state and local levels. Data from agencies at local levels will provide the main source of information for use in local planning, as well as state evaluation of large-scale programs.

Partners in the grant include the Virginia Department of Social Services and the Virginia Department of Education, with input from the Virginia Department of Health. Initial questions will focus on child care quality in relation to the child care subsidy program, family demographics, parental choice, and how these factors relate to children’s outcomes in kindergarten. Later questions will expand into other areas of child welfare and health.

Additional information about Project Child HANDS may be found here.


Virginia Early Childhood Professional Registry
PI: Dr. Aaron Schroeder
Dates: 2010-2011
Award: $90,840
Sponsor: Virginia Department of Social Services

The creation of an early childhood education workforce personnel and training registry system for the Commonwealth of Virginia is necessary for two reasons—to provide the most complete and best understanding of the day care environment a child has experienced in concert with the child and provider data, and to establish a professional development tracking system for child care professionals. The relationship between practitioner level of education and types and level of training and impact on child outcomes, for example, can be accurately assessed. To build this system, practitioner, trainer and training core data elements will be adapted to existing standards and translated to a normalized relational structure to allow for accurate analysis and reporting. Additionally, the data system will incorporate linkages to existing data sources that already provide the needed core data elements. The resulting functional database system will be accessed through a web-based interface for both administrative management and participant interaction.


Virginia’s Wounded Warriors: Virginia Needs and Gaps – Data system
Co-PIs: Mary Beth Dunkenberger; Dr. Aaron Schroeder
Dates: 2010-2011
Award: $85,000
Sponsor: Virginia Department of Veteran Services Working with the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program (VWWP)

Virginia Department of Veteran Services Working with the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program (VWWP) to develop a system to capture output and outcome data across the VWWP program areas including community partners who receive VWWP funding support. This system will enable VWWP to achieve its mission to establish an integrated, comprehensive and responsive system of services for veterans, Guardsman and Reservists with Combat/Operational Stress Conditions or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and their families through a network of public and private partnerships.


Virginia’s Wounded Warriors: Assessment of the Experiences, Supportive Service Needs and Service Gaps of Veterans within the Commonwealth of Virginia
Co-PIs: Mary Beth Dunkenberger; Dr. Aaron Schroeder
Dates: 2009-2010
Award: $148,780
Sponsor: Virginia Department of Veteran Services

Virginia Department of Veteran Services assessed the current service experiences (consumer satisfaction), emerging and unserved needs and service gaps within the range of veteran’s services available in the Commonwealth of Virginia. There are over 800,000 veterans residing within the Commonwealth of Virginia. While all veterans’ experiences and needs were assessed, particular consideration was given to the mental and behavioral health and traumatic brain injury service needs of the veterans of Operation Iraq Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).