When I was an Assistant Commissioner for foster care for a large city in the United States, I spent my days primarily doing one of two things: 1) putting out fires; and 2) trying to change the system so those same fires didn’t rekindle when I turned my back to extinguish a different fire. All of this was in the service of the approximately 17,000 children in foster care and their birth, kinship, foster, or adoptive families.
Many times during my tenure with the city I found myself frustrated by the silos both inside the agency and with the agencies across the city, state, and country who served the same children and families. For example: The mother at the end of her rope who had to travel to vital records again because she could no longer find her child’s birth certificate. The family who sat all day filling out housing forms only to wait for weeks to learn if they qualified.
- A growth in pharmaceutical drug abuse across state lines was slowed when law enforcement officials and pharmacies in California and Nevada began to electronically share information about the illegal abuse of prescription drugs.
- The state of Massachusetts moved from mostly paper-based tracking of gang activity in to MassGangs, a web-based repository and intelligence and investigative tool that allows authorized users to electronically exchange, store, and use real-time gang-related data maintained by public safety and law enforcement agencies statewide.
- By galvanizing entire communities in the search, a missing child can be more quickly and safely recovered through perhaps the best known NIEM exchange, Amber Alert, which is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry to send an urgent bulletin in child-abduction cases.
Can anyone out there speak to use of NIEM in their state or county? Has it bettered outcomes? Reduced system development costs? Improved relationships with industry partners? Please share your NIEM experiences.