Coordinated Assistance Network
The DCDS is a product of the partnership of many disaster relief organizations, software vendors, and HUD’s National Homeless Management Information Systems Technical Assistance Project working through the Coordinated Assistance Networks (CAN) Client Data Exchange Project and it was funded in part by the Hurricane Recovery Program (HRP). The Client Data Exchange Project is a directed effort by CAN to improve circulation of reliable client information within the American Red Cross and partner agencies during disasters. Disaster relief agencies responding to Hurricane Katrina learned that greater leverage of resources requires adherence to data exchange standards, so they can be part of a larger information network.
The original draft of the standard was developed by VisionLink, Inc., participating in a joint ANSI and US Homeland Security workgroup, reviewing the after action reports from Katrina. VisionLink reviewed nearly a dozen existing systems and created a draft client data exchange standard for review. In a June 2007 CAN symposium through 2008, CAN convened representatives from human services information systems vendors, AIRS XML Schema standards developers, and HUD HMIS technical assistance to develop and test the Disaster Client Data Standard. Disaster client data elements were cataloged from multiple agencies, and commonalities and minimal required functionality were identified. During testing, participating agencies demonstrated their ability to transmit and receive DCDS client data using disparate case management systems.
In a future release, an XML messaging protocol will be defined to improve the ease of transmission and receipt of these client data amongst the project participants. Despite the ongoing improvement of the DCDS standard, version 1.1 is useful today for coordinated interagency disaster response.
Special thanks should be given to the three vendors that participated in the testing process: