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Los Angeles County Record Linkage Project

Economic Roundtable Research Proposal

Overview

The Economic Roundtable is proposing a research project using linked county records to provide practical information about poverty, work, child well-being, homelessness and public costs. This research will identify and analyze groups that will benefit from effective preventative services with the potential for long-term reductions in public costs, for example:

  • Individuals experiencing homelessness
  • Children who experience trauma or homelessness
  • Children with mental illness
  • Transition age foster and probation youth
  • Unemployed but employable adults
  • Low-wage workers
  • Ex-offenders
  • Evicted and displaced households
  • Individuals with disabilities

The research will include analyzing the timing of life events to identifying prior tripwire conditions associated with critically adverse outcomes, as well as to identify interventions that are strongly connected to improving social conditions and reducing public costs for specific groups.

Record Linkage Population

The primary population for the record linkage will be all public assistance recipients from 2002 through 2015. This includes the 8,969,289 individuals in records from 2002 through 2010 that have already been shared with the Economic Roundtable by the Department of Public Social Services, and additional records for recipients from 2011 through 2015. This will provide valuable longitudinal information about residents of Los Angeles County who have experienced poverty.

Two additional groups in the ELP database will also be included the record linkage population: transition age youth and ex-offenders.

Records to be Linked

Records that are already integrated by the County’s Enterprise Linkage Project will be linked for this research. This includes records from the Departments of: Children and Family Services (DCFS), Community and Senior Services (CSS), Health Services (DHS), Mental Health (DMH), Public Health (DPH), Public Social Services (DPSS), Probation, and Sheriff.

Data Fields to be Included in Linked Records

All of the data fields collected by the Enterprise Linkage Project (ELP) will be included in the linked records.

Obtaining and Integrating Employment and Employer Data from EDD

Two types of data are needed from the California Employment Development Department. The first is earnings records for everyone in the record linkage population. These person-level records show employment and earnings histories for individuals and will be linked with departmental records, then de-identified, as described below. The second type of data is establishment-level employer records which will be used by the Economic Roundtable to analyze employment, job training and job creation opportunities for low-wage workers over the course of this project. The Economic Roundtable will pay EDD’s cost for producing this data.

Protecting Data Confidentiality

Records will be linked within the county’s computer system. Linked records that are exported to the Economic Roundtable will be de-identified, that is, information such as name, Social Security number, or case record number that could be used to identify specific individuals will be removed from records and replaced by a random identifier. The same random identifier will be used in all records for the same individual to enable the Economic Roundtable to connect records from different departments.

The county will retain a confidential record linkage spine with identifying information for this population. This will enable the county to identify and reach out to individuals who are identified as priority candidates for targeted services, for example, as a result of triage tool screening.

In addition to an MOU with the county, the Economic Roundtable’s work will be overseen by its Institutional Review Board and governed by a research protocol for protection of human subjects.

Extending the Record Linkage to Other Agencies

Organizations outside the county have valuable information about the study population. These organizations will also benefit from reducing public and health care costs through more effectively targeted services. An objective is to engage them in the record linkage and to expand the project incrementally as they agree to participate, including:

  1. State agencies including Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, Department of Health Care Services, Department of Education, and Department of Social Services.
  2. Private hospitals.
  3. Health insurance and managed care providers.
  4. Housing authorities throughout Los Angeles County.
  5. Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

Collaborating with County Staff and Other Researchers

The Economic Roundtable will collaborate with researchers from county departments, universities and other groups who can expand the scope and capabilities of this project.