Birth to Age Eight Collaborative Initiative

Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems

  • Data Systems

Dakota County, MN, Minnesota

In 2014, the Birth to Age Eight Collaborative Initiative was launched in Dakota County to streamline early childhood services, ensuring school readiness for children from birth to age 8 in specific school districts. This initiative is designed to ensure that all children in Dakota County are ready for school by the time they enter kindergarten, with a special focus on critical developmental milestones such as health at birth and reading proficiency by third grade. The collaborative nature of the initiative is one of its most distinguishing features, involving a partnership among Dakota County Public Health, social services, four school districts, and various nonprofit organizations. It leverages in-kind funding, mainly from Dakota County Public Health Department, and state grants, significantly increasing children’s program engagement. Through this initiative, Dakota County has been able to create a data-sharing portal to track milestones, developed communication methods to promote early childhood screenings, and implemented a referral process for WIC. This initiative has received rewards from National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in 2018 and National Association of Counties (NACo) in 2017.

Sources:

Dakota County.

Star Tribune