Kentucky Data Collaborative and Kentucky Longitudinal Data System

Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems

  • Data Systems


Created in 2012, the Kentucky Center for Statistics (KYSTATS) maintains the Kentucky Longitudinal Data System (KLDS), a statewide longitudinal data system that includes data on kindergarten readiness, birth statistics, and early learning programs’ enrollments/ratings. The KLDS functions as a data warehouse for data from multiple agencies, including Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. The warehouse links and merges demographic, program, and individual level-data from early learning services through workforce for evaluation, research, monitoring, and public information purposes. The individual data is deidentified with a unique identifier. Data is accessible via request with a data-sharing agreement required for all deidentified individual level data.

KYSTATS, which builds upon the work of the state’s P-20 Data Collaborative, was given authority to maintain the KLDS through KRS151B.132. KYSTATS is funded through state appropriations, federal Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grants, other grants, and user fees.

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 Kentucky

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

Visit the Kentucky Profile Here
  • The state population is 4,512,310
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 64%
  • The rural percentage is 41.3%