Chicago Early Childhood Integrated Data System (CECIDS)

Infrastructure Systems

  • Data Systems

Chicago, Illinois

In 2022, the Northern Illinois University Research & Data Collaborative launched the Chicago Early Childhood Integrated Data SystemAn early childhood integrated data system (ECIDS) “collects, integrates, maintains, stores, and reports information from early childhood programs across multiple agencies.” Source: Institute of Education Sciences. (n.d.). (CECIDS), which is governed by the City of Chicago. The system functions as a cloud-based data hub and data visualization tool for demographic, program, and individual data related to 52 specific early childhood questions and use cases. CECIDS is governed by multiple agencies and organizations (e.g., City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, Chicago Public Schools, and Illinois Network of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, and others) and shares state and city data across multiple stakeholders (e.g., City of Chicago: Mayor’s Office, Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development, Illinois Action for Children, Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois State Board of Education, and others) for public use. CECIDS hosts a data dashboard and data visualization tool with demographic and program eligibility and services data.

The system is funded by philanthropic donations, the City of Chicago, and the State of Illinois.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

Strong infrastructure and systems – including governance structures and data systems – are key aspects of high-quality early education and care. And research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality early education within a mixed-delivery system; strengthening infrastructure and systems is one important way states and cities can take action to address these needs and accomplish these goals.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) that connect to the need for more robust infrastructure and systems, including data systems:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
  • No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
  • We have learned a great deal from this groundbreaking, large-scale study. Nevertheless, there is still much to learn about what children, families, and educators need, and about what “works” – for whom and under what circumstances – across all the diverse settings where young children learn and grow.
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Chicago

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  • The city population is 2,696,555
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 62%
  • The median family income among households with children is $72,300