Research Horizons


Enhanced Software Helps Caregivers Keep Up With Children in Foster Care

The photo depicts Sarah Beal, PhD, Mary Greiner, MD, MS, and Judith Dexheimer, PhD with a white board and post it notes, brainstorming ways to address the issue of data sharing for children in the child protective custody.

Nearly 500,000 children across the United States live in foster care. Caring for their medical, dental, developmental, behavioral, and mental health needs can present unique challenges.

Now clinical teams and caseworkers in Ohio’s Hamilton and Montgomery counties can use  new, updated Cordata IDENTITY software to enable up-to-date data sharing to improve health outcomes. This software was developed at Cincinnati Children’s in 2018 and commercialized in 2021. The upgraded platform went live in January 2024.

Before IDENTITY, neither healthcare providers nor caseworkers had a full picture of the needs and challenges of children in the foster care system. Providers often did not know that a patient was entering the foster care system nor that the patient had been moved from one foster care family to another.

As a result, it was often unclear how to contact the patient, who should provide consent for treatment, when medical information could be shared, or even who to bill for the services. At the same time, caseworkers might not have the information needed to share with new caregivers regarding a child’s medications, allergies, and other medical concerns.

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s worked with the Job and Family Services agencies in Hamilton and Montgomery Counties to address these communications gaps by developing the IDENTITY (Integrated Data Environment to eNhance ouTcomes in custody Youth) software platform.

The IDENTITY software was licensed for further development and use in other communities in 2021 by Cincinnati-based Cordata Healthcare Innovations Inc. Cincinnati Children’s researchers have continued to work with Cordata to enhance the IDENTITY platform, which is now being launched for clinical use at Cincinnati Children’s.

For more information, contact Cordata Support Services at 1-866-396-1445,

Research By

Judith Dexheimer, PhD
Judith Dexheimer, PhD
Division of Biomedical Informatics

My research interests include machine learning (ML), decision support, personal health records and multi-center informatics implementations

Sarah Beal, PhD
Sarah Beal, PhD
scientific director of child welfare research of the CHECK Foster Care Center
Mary Greiner, MD, MS
Mary Greiner, MD, MS
medical director of the CHECK Foster Care Center at Cincinnati Children’s.