Early Childhood Data Governance
Data governance is both an organizational process and structure that supports management of collective data, including availability, usability, quality, and security of data through creation and enforcement of roles, responsibilities, policies, and procedures. 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.
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.”
The SC ECIDS is supported by the Data Governance Work Group. The purpose of the Work Group is 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.
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
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.
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.