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President Obama has signed a bipartisan bill creating a 15-member commission to determine how the federal government can share and link administrative data sets without risking personal information privacy. The commission will also consider how the federal government can use data to create the evidence required for smart policy decisions, as well as how to create the infrastructure to support the use of evidence in policymaking.
To guide this work, the Forum and the William T. Grant Foundation created a set of recommendations, with the hope of helping the Commission make the most of its historic opportunity. These suggestions are drawn from long experience of the Forum and William T. Grant Foundation as conveners of a learning group of senior career staff and appointees in research offices focused on children, youth, and families within the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, Justice, and Health and Human Services, as well as in the Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Science Foundation. These agencies invest in research and evaluation to build policy-relevant evidence and will likely be charged with implementing many of the Commission’s recommendations.