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Integrated early childhood data systems

Author: Daniel Ferguson
Publication Date: October 2014

To improve data-driven decision making, states and localities are beginning to integrate administrative data systems that have historically been developed and maintained independently by the programs that serve young children. A number of federal initiatives, such as State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grants and State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, and Race to the Top, provide funding to states to support these early childhood data system efforts. A paper from the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC), a consortium of seven national research and policy organizations, presents a framework for approaching early care and education data system coordination and integration, and identifies key elements of an integrated early childhood data system. Recently INQUIRE (Quality Initiatives Research and Evaluation Consortium), funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), has developed a tool and guides focusing on the components of a high-quality early childhood data system that are relevant to state quality rating and improvement systems. Through its Interoperability Initiative, ACF has released a confidentiality toolkit to aid human services agencies in data systems integration while ensuring the privacy and security of the children and families they serve. This Topic of Interest highlights the ECDC paper, the INQUIRE tool and guides, and the ACF Interoperability Initiative toolkit, as well as other resources, including reports, projects, and bibliographies from the Research Connections collection, that explore the state of state early childhood data systems and state efforts to develop high-quality integrated early childhood data systems. (author abstract)

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