A comprehensive strategy for the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect requires the development of a suitable research infrastructure. Although a data archive cannot address all the research needs of the field, it represents an important component of the scientific infrastructure needed to facilitate high-quality research and maximize the use of scarce research funds. It does so by making public data available as quickly as possible, keeping the data in numerous types of formats, and providing high-quality documentation. In addition, an archive maximizes the research utility of existing data by also providing expert advice from experienced data analysts, as well as broader guidance from a team of co-directors who are experts in this research area.
NDACAN is not merely a passive repository of data. Staff are actively engaged in promoting the use of Archive datasets. Events such as the annual Summer Research Institute, presentations and workshops at national research conferences, and the publication of original research are activities that encourage use of Archive data and foster collaboration within the child maltreatment research community. Support for users and participation in the research community are important objectives for NDACAN. Archive staff prepare user friendly dataset documentation and provide technical support to all data users. All documentation is available for download from the NDACAN web site, and other services, including the Child Abuse and Neglect Digital Library (canDL), the Child Maltreatment Research Listserv (CMRL), and the Child Abuse and Neglect Measures Index are valuable resources not only for data users but also for the broader research community.
Some of the datasets discussed in the workshop will be; (1) National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS); (2) Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS); (3) National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD); (4) National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW); (5) Longitudinal Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN); and (6) National Incidence Studies of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS). Presenters will also discuss newly archived datasets, as well as ones scheduled for release. Researchers new to the archive are invited to attend, as well as researchers who have used the resources of the archive and who might want to ask questions or comment on their experiences. Researchers at all levels of training and experience and from various research settings are encouraged to attend.