The Preschool Development Grant B-5 Survey of Early Childhood Education Data Users was developed to assess the types of data that are currently available and being used to track progress and measure outcomes related to early childhood health, safety, and education across North Carolina. Responses confirm that data is currently being collected in all target areas of the North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan (ECAP), which outlines a set of ten priorities to change early childhood outcomes.
However, the report highlighted the need for an integrated data system to facilitate data sharing across the wide range of public and private programs that are collecting data. While the state’s Early Childhood Integrated Data System (ECIDS) collects data from DHHS units like Head Start, Child Protective Services, Food & Nutrition Services (SNAP), and Work First, the majority of public and private organizations and agencies are not able to contribute to this data. This often leads to inconsistent data collection methods and standards, duplication of work, and missed opportunities to provide children and families the services they need. Survey respondents expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity to improve the collection and use of early childhood data in the state.
In 2019, our team presented findings and recommendations from the Preschool Development Grant (PDG B-5) Survey of Early Childhood Education Data Users. See the full report and executive summary below. A key recommendation of this report was to ensure that the development of early childhood data systems improvements is “human-centered.” As the North Carolina (NC) Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) contemplates how to design improvements to early childhood data systems, human-centered design strategies can yield important insights into how to improve the success of new data services provided in early childhood systems.
Using a human-centered design framework as a guide, we developed a process to engage in nine “data design round tables” with stakeholder groups across the state. We selected topics based on focus areas of DHHS identified in the NC Early Childhood Action Plan (ECAP), as well as other topics of special interest to DHHS. Topics included substantive areas such as food insecurity and housing, while others focused on specific populations such as Native and tribal children. More details about the individual round table topics and participants are provided in this report. Each round table yielded insights regarding data design and policy recommendations specific to each topic area. However, we also identified a set of cross-cutting themes, open questions, and next steps that emerged from collective analysis of the data.
This survey was funded by the Preschool Development Grant B-5 (PDG B-5). It was led by Dr. Paul Lanier at the Jordan Institute for Families at the UNC School of Social Work and Katherine Bryant, program coordinator for the UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health, with support from Elizabeth Nicholls, a graduate student at the School of Social Work. The evaluation team partnered with the Carolina Survey Research Laboratory (CSRL) in the Department of Biostatistics at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health. An electronic survey was distributed to a key stakeholder contact list developed with support from PDG B-5 partners; a universal survey link was then shared on social media channels for the UNC School of Social Work and NC DHHS and through fliers at the 2019 NC Summit on Child Health at Duke University.
Click here to the 2019 Final Report on Data Users.
Click here to read the Executive Summary of the Final Report
Click here to read the 2020 Data User Roundtable Report.
To learn more, please email Paul Lanier (email@example.com) or Katherine Bryant (Katherine_Bryant@med.unc.edu) at the Jordan Institute for Families in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The project described was supported by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDG B-5), Grant Number 90TP0046-01-00, from the Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Child Care, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.