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An Unofficial Guide to the Why and How of State Early Childhood Data Systems

This paper is intended to show why data systems represent an opportunity to come together for children and families.

This paper is intended to show policymakers, advocates, practitioners, philanthropists and other early childhood stakeholders why data systems represent a great opportunity to come together to improve outcomes for children and families. The authors share why state early childhood data systems matter, how to unify a state’s data systems, how to help ensure data is used in decision-making and considerations related to privacy in early childhood data.

Key Findings

State early childhood data systems can help ensure:

  • Resources are allocated based on actual needs.
  • Children and families receive the right combinations of services.
  • Families and the public receive accurate, timely information and data about the early childhood system and providers.
  • Teaching and learning in Kindergarten through second grade is improved using data.

Unifying a state data system requires stakeholder engagement, development of interagency agreements, assessment of the current data landscape, and building linkages among systems.

Ensuring that data is used for decision-making requires an assessment of state capacity to produce and analyze data, as well as research, advocacy, community and provider-level capacity.

Policy Team & Collaborators