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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System. 

  • The Administration for Community Living (ACL) in partnership with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), both housed within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), developed the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS). It is the first comprehensive, national reporting system for APS programs. NAMRS collects quantitative and qualitative data on the practices and policies of adult protective services (APS) agencies and the results of investigations into the maltreatment of older adults and adults with disabilities.

  • The goal of NAMRS is to provide consistent, accurate national data to understand maltreatment (abuse, neglect, and exploitation) of older adults and adults with disabilities, as reported to APS agencies. The absence of data for research and best practice development has been cited by numerous entities, including the Government Accountability Office, as a significant barrier to improving APS programs and services to victims. Policy makers, APS programs, and researchers will use the data to evaluate and improve programs and services.

  • In September 2013, ACL and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) contracted with WRMA, Inc. (WRMA) to develop and pilot NAMRS. In developing NAMRS, WRMA worked with ACL, ASPE, and the National Adult Protective Services Association to convene key stakeholders to identify data elements that are the most critical for a national system. More than 40 state administrators, researchers, service providers, and other stakeholders provided input in focus group conference calls. Additionally, more than 30 state representatives from 25 different states met in three in-person working sessions to discuss the uses and key functionalities of collected data. NAMRS was developed as a system that is responsive to the diversity of APS programs around the country. With technical assistance from WRMA, the system was tested in nine diverse states. Based on the pilot results, which included feedback from the pilot states, WRMA delivered a final report and system to ACL in September 2015. Based on the final report, a review of system requirements, and additional stakeholder input, WRMA finalized the requirements, with ACL approval, in 2016. Read more about NAMRS development on our background page.

  • NAMRS is a reporting system for state-level data. Each state submits a report to NAMRS annually. States with county-based APS programs or more than one agency that investigates adult maltreatment compile and submit data through a lead agency. For the last several years, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the five U.S. territories have submitted at least Agency Component data. The number of states submitting Case Component data has been gradually increasing.

  • NAMRS is an annual, voluntary system to collect both qualitative and quantitative data on APS investigations. NAMRS consists of three components: Agency Component, submitted by all agencies, on their policies and practices; Case Component, data on client characteristics, services, and perpetrator characteristics, provided by agencies that have report-level tracking systems; and Key Indicators Component, aggregated data on key statistics of investigations and victims, provided by agencies that do not have report-level tracking systems or are unable to provide case-level data. States submit Agency Component data on their policies and practices, along with either the Case Component data or Key Indicators data. The Adult Protective Services Technical Assistance Resource Center provides training and assistance to assist states with submitting data. Agency IT departments are a critical partner for most APS programs. State APS programs have been improving systems to capture more NAMRS data elements and to make data extraction and upload efforts easier.

  • As NAMRS is still a young data collection system, data are currently being provided exclusively in summary format, via reports and white papers posted to the ACL website. It is the eventual goal to provide the research and practice community with access to microdata that will enable customized analyses and for research and quality improvement purposes. The timeframe and logistics of this data access are still being developed, but a minimum of five years of data collection is considered the minimum time needed to “mature” the data for broader use.

  • Some of the NAMRS data elements are aspirational. It was designed with the recognition that states will not be able to participate optimally in the short-run. Not every state is able to provide Case Component or Key Indicators data. Even states with sophisticated electronic case management systems are not able to provide all the requested data because they do not collect it or they are unable to map to the NAMRS data elements NAMRS provides a model of critical data elements that states should consider collecting in the future. Using grants from ACL, some states have already adapted their information systems to improve their reporting and NAMRS has provided a framework for states implementing new case management systems.

  • The APS TARC recently completed an analysis of the gaps and completeness of NAMRS data and will work with states to improve completeness of data. Through the APS TARC, ACL recently conducted a series of listening sessions on potential changes to NAMRS – both in terms of the data collected and system functionality. ACL will be working with key stakeholders to finalize a set of proposed improvements to the data elements for the next Office of Management and Budget approval (spring 2023) and system improvements. The next round of improvements will include a plan for making the data more generally available for states and general research.

  • To date, NAMRS data has been used by ACL to better understand and improve APS programs through research and technical assistance. Research projects have included both process and outcome evaluations, focused on better understanding the APS system across the states and the impact on clients. Another research project using NAMRS data has focused on applying predictive analytics approaches to understanding risk and predictive factors – at both a community and individual level – for APS. Finally, NAMRS data have proven to be a rich resource for APS TARC staff to use in providing ongoing technical assistance to APS programs. For example, one state was considering how to change the definition of its APS population and the definitions in the Agency Component of NAMRS was used to provide the state with a perspective and example of how other states define their populations.

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