SC Early Childhood Integrated Data System

Early Childhood Integrated Data System

On April 15, 2021, the Early Childhood Advisory Council approved a motion to “serve as the governing body for Early Childhood System Data Governance, including staffing these efforts, as outlined in the framework.” South Carolina’s Early Childhood Advisory Council houses a Data Governance Coordinator, who is responsible for strategic planning, stakeholder engagement, and data governance efforts to achieve alignment and integration across early childhood programs in South Carolina. The SC ECIDS is operationalized and supported by the Data Governance Work Group.

Current data governance structure

Purpose

To develop recommendations to the South Carolina Early Childhood Advisory Council for data governance and to operationalize the South Carolina Early Childhood Integrated Data System.

Mission

Establish and maintain a comprehensive infrastructure for integrated, accurate, and actionable data to support children, families, and communities in South Carolina.

Vision

We will be successful when all children reach their highest potential.

Goals

1. Create standard definitions and reports for evidence-based decision making.
2. Achieve equity by supporting stakeholders in identifying and resolving disparities.
3. Inform policies and practices to support children, families, and communities.
4. Connect early childhood data into longitudinal data systems.
5. Understand the impacts of investment from Birth through Workforce.
Improve the quality of life for all South Carolinians.

   

Forming Key Questions for Early Childhood Integrated Data System

To build a useful integrated data system, it is best to first establish a set of key questions that will drive everything. The starting point for the key questions came out of the 2019 Birth through Five Statewide Needs Assessment, funded by Preschool Development Grant. Three data collection strategies, which engaged more than 5,000 people, were used to determine statewide priorities/needs in three areas (early learning and development; health and well-being; family and community):

  • 15 regional meetings were held across the state with 440 participants
  • 3,114 online survey responses focused on priorities of parents/caregivers
  • 1,495+ people engaged in approximately 130 focus groups across all counties focused on engaging families/ caregivers and young children

Process for Finalizing Key Questions

Considerations from the system’s end users will inform various phases of the development of the integrated data system to ensure that end users’ needs are being met in the design and implementation of the system. The potential key questions have been presented to various groups of stakeholders across the state to garner feedback, including program administrators, educators, families and caregivers, policymakers, and researchers to modify the list based on their specific needs. The potential key questions were brought to the Interagency Collaboration Committee for discussion in August 2021 and adopted by the Early Childhood Advisory Council in August of 2021.

Key Questions

Details for the Early Childhood Integrated Data System:

•  Young children is defined as children under age six in South Carolina.
•  Early childhood programs is defined broadly, beyond state and federally funded programs.
•  Counts seek to identify an unduplicated number.
•  Questions will be revisited quarterly to ensure continued alignment with mission.

1. What early childhood programs, statewide, are available for eligible young children?
2. How many young children are there?
3. How many young children are eligible for early childhood programs?
4. How many young children are enrolled in early childhood programs?
5. Are those enrolled in early childhood programs on track to succeed?
6. What is the return on investment for early childhood programs?

   

South Carolina Early Childhood Integrated Data System Current Funded Initiatives

South Carolina Early Learning Extension of the K-12 Statewide Longitudinal Data System

One of the first initiatives of the SC Early Childhood Integrated Data System (SC ECIDS) will be the South Carolina Early Learning Extension (SCELE) of the K-12 Statewide Longitudinal Data System. Its mission is to improve outcomes for young children and their families through an aligned system for data-informed decisions and policies. The SCELE will provide insight into utilization of early childhood care and education programs and articulate the return on public investment in early childhood to better understand their impact and to build the case for more long-term investment.

The SC Early Learning Extension will be able to answer key questions about children while they were enrolled in early childhood care and education programs. This will connect with the existing state K-12 Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) to link early childhood care and education programs to K-12 outcomes. The technical lead on the SCELE is the Department of Education.

Funding

South Carolina received a $3.3 million federal grant in March of 2020 to build the Early Learning Extension. The Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program awarded the funds competitively based on South Carolina’s plan to extend its existing K-12 data system to early childhood programs, and to make the information more accessible to the public. The four-year grant is part of a national effort to help states and educators better understand what works for students and facilitate research to increase student achievement and narrow achievement gaps.

The described initiative is made possible by the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant Program, Grant Number R372A200048, from the U.S. Department of Education.

Integrated Data System for the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative

An activity of the Preschool Development Grant (PDG) Birth through Five Initiative is to develop and implement an integrated data system for South Carolina, that will be housed and supported at South Carolina’s Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office (RFA). The Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office houses the state Data Warehouse and has the ability to link individual records of children across multiple agencies for program and outcome evaluation to better understand the impact of a mixed delivery system.

We will focus on bringing in new early childhood program inputs (e.g., federal, and local funded home visiting) and leveraging inputs and outcomes already participating in the Data Warehouse. This will strengthen SC’s coordinated longitudinal data systems to allow opportunities for early childhood stakeholders to share data and communicate analyzed results.

Funding

The Preschool Development Birth Through 5 Renewal Grant to build upon the initial work of the PDG grant is a federal grant to support the expansion of early childhood programs and services in South Carolina. The award provides $11 million per year for up to three years. The South Carolina Department of Social Services is executing the grant, and activities are being coordinated and administered by partners SC First Steps, the Department of Education, the SC Head Start Collaboration Office and the state’s Early Childhood Advisory Council. Funding will allow South Carolina’s Early Childhood Education (ECE) system to continue to work towards its goal to increase access to quality early childhood programs and services for vulnerable children.

The described initiative is made possible by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDG B-5), Grant Number 90TP0080-01-00, from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Timeline

2021

1. Establish and operationalize sustainable, flexible Data Governance
2. Finalize key questions
3. Conduct a data discovery, including a review of data dictionaries to identify data elements to integrate
4. Establish data sharing agreements to answer key questions
5. Explore and begin to build technical infrastructure

Intermediate

• Refine Data Governance & technical infrastructure
• Develop one use case that demonstrates how to answer one of the key questions using integrated data

Early 2024

• Create publicly available reports/dashboards and research request process/portal

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