FAQ About Data Sources

Data sources 

What are the sources of data on this website?

While specific data sources vary from publication to publication, most of the data on this site come from the Allegheny County Data Warehouse, the county’s shared data repository. The warehouse was designed to improve services for our residents and to help workers and management make more data-informed decisions. The warehouse contains data from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS) and a variety of local partners. 

Some of these partners include:

Where can I find a list of current downloadable datasets?

When new datasets become available, they will be posted under Content Types → Datasets

Additional datasets from our partners can be found at:

Where can I find interactive dashboards? 

When dashboards become available, or information is updated, they will be posted under Content Types → Dashboards. Here are some of our popular dashboards: 

Requesting data 

How can I request data from the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (DHS)?

If you would like to make a request for data or research involving DHS clients, please visit this page for information.

What should I know before requesting data from Allegheny County DHS? 

The Department of Human Services supports research that increases knowledge, improves practice and informs policy in the field of human services. DHS will share data for these purposes, if it’s within specific guidelines and we can maintain client confidentiality. DHS policy and the DHS Data and Research Privacy Board comply with the requirements set forth in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

If you’re interested in requesting data that involves DHS or clients, you must first submit a data request form. Once the DHS Privacy Board accepts the request, they will send you a confidential data-sharing requirement and conditions form that you must complete and send back. Once the requirement and conditions form has been received, the DHS Privacy Board will contact you about next steps (including the data-sharing mechanism and timeline).

After you send an initial data request form, you can expect a response within 30 days with further questions or a decision from the DHS Privacy Board.

NOTE: DHS reserves the right to deny requests for data or research that does not increase knowledge, improve practice or inform policy in the human services field or that violate DHS policies.

What types of data will the Allegheny County Department of Human Services provide?

In general, DHS will provide de-identified or limited data sets for research purposes based on review of the data request form.

  • De-identified data contains information previously recorded or collected without any of the 18 HIPAA-defined identifiers or traceable code, or DHS-identifiable information or that has been stripped of all 18 HIPAA-defined identifiers.
  • Limited data must have 16 out of the 18 HIPAA-defined identifiers removed.
  • List of HIPAA-defined identifiers

When identified data are necessary for purposes of the research, DHS will consider providing access to these data if the project has been approved by the researcher’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB approval, including a waiver of authorization, must be submitted with the request. Exceptions to the IRB requirement will be made on a case-by-case basis by the DHS Privacy Board.

Additional information 

What is the Allegheny County Data Warehouse?

The Allegheny County Data Warehouse brings together and integrates client and service data from a wide variety of sources both internal and external to the County. It was created by consolidating publicly-funded human services data (for example, behavioral health, child welfare, developmental support, homelessness and aging) and, over time, expanded to include data from other sources. 

The Data Warehouse was designed primarily to improve services to clients, but also to improve the ability of workers to perform their jobs and to support management decision making; it is also intended to be available as a community resource, making data and information publicly available whenever possible. It was made possible with support from the Human Service Integration Fund, a flexible funding pool created by a coalition of local foundations for the purpose of supporting integration and innovation within DHS.

You can see how we’ve used this database by visiting our QuickCount tool and Human Services Community Profile tool on this site. Through these tools, researchers and the general public can find out how publicly-funded services are used throughout the community.  

Read more here about the development of the Data Warehouse, the County’s data sharing partnerships, and how the data is used to support client services and decision making. 

How are the data used? Is there a list of research projects?

You can find a collection of independently published reports here. These reports used data from the Allegheny County Data Warehouse.

For a list of ongoing research and contact information for people who are involved, please email us at DHS-Research@alleghenycounty.us

Who can I reach out to if I have more questions? 

If you have any questions or suggestions for data you would like to see on this site, please email us at DHS-Research@alleghenycounty.us.