Early Childhood Data Systems

Good data systems are essential to ensuring policies and practices respond to child and family needs and to developing continuous improvement and accountability in systems building.

As states develop early childhood systems, they also need good data. They need data on the status of children and families, on the use of early childhood services, and on the impacts of those services on children’s development. Program data is needed (and often developed primarily) for basic monitoring and claims processing purposes. However, it can also be used for continuous improvement – provided it is collected and analyzed appropriately. 

Improving Data Use

States increasingly are seeking to design data systems that can be used for these purposes, and to mine existing data in ways that can inform policy and practice. This includes working with statewide longitudinal data bases and developing data warehouses and other means to examine service use and impact across programs and services.

The BUILD Initiative supports state leaders in their efforts to strengthen their early childhood data systems and make better use of existing data by providing resources and opportunities for peer learning about what is working in states.