Georgia’s Cross Agency Child Data System (CACDS)

Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems

  • Data Systems


Launched in 2012, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning’s Cross Agency Child Data System (CACDS) is an 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.). that functions as a warehouse. The system stores longitudinal, demographic, program, workforce, and individual data on early childhood educational enrollment and services across multiple Georgia programs (e.g., Babies Can’t Wait, Preschool Special Education, Georgia’s Pre-K Program, Early Head Start, Head Start, subsidized child care, and home visiting) and agencies (e.g., Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, Department of Education, Department of Public Health, Division of Family and Children Services, and Georgia Head Start Association). The private individual-level data is matched and deidentified using an internal matching system. CACDS provides data for internal use across participating agencies to guide research, policy, and development. CACDS also offers a “Community Data Explorer” to provide aggregate level program and demographic data for public use.

In 2010, the State Advisory Council provided a grant to build the system. It was expanded in 2014 using funds from the 2013 federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant. In 2017, CACDS won a grant (funded by the Kellogg Foundation) from ECDataWorks at the University of Pennsylvania. CACDS is also supported through a Georgia 2020 PDG B-5 three year renewal grant. CACDS provides information to the Georgia P-20 Statewide Longitudinal Data System and Georgia’s Academic and Workforce Analysis and Research Data System (GA-AWARDS).

Georgia (CACDS) – Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy
SRI Education (2021). Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) State Profiles
LiBetti, A. & Fu, R. (2022). A State Scan of Early Learning Assessments and Data Systems. New America.
Georgia Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five (PDG B-5)

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 Georgia

Context matters. Visit the Georgia profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Georgia Profile Here
  • The state population is 10,912,876
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 65%
  • The rural percentage is 25.9%